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Analysis of Trends in VAERS Data
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April, 2013: Symptoms of Flu and HPV

What are the typical symptoms caused by vaccines? This is easy to discover, thanks to the MedDRA symptom classification system that is used by VAERS. MedDRA organizes all known symptoms at five levels of detail. At the top level, the Symptom Organ Class (SOC), symptoms are divided into 26 general groupings. You can see these SOC symptoms by making a graph of the Symptoms SOC (Highest). And because MedDRA control is specialized, you will need to be in Expert Mode.

It is interesting to look at the pattern of symptoms in all of VAERS. It is even more interesting to look at the pattern of symptoms associated with a specific vaccine. In the figure below, the left side shows the SOC symptoms found in all VAERS reports, and the right side shows the SOC symptoms found in those VAERS reports associated with a Flu vaccine.

Interestingly, the two graphs are similar, which tells us that Flu vaccine reactions are typical of all vaccine reactions.

But what about the HPV vaccine? Are the symptoms in VAERS reports associated with this vaccine typical of all vaccine reactions? No!

The HPV vaccine has noticeable spikes in Cardiac, Nervous, Pregnancy, and Vascular disorders. There is also a spike in "Investigations," but this only indicates that the reports frequently warrant further examination.

An obvious follow-up question is to ask for more detail about the Cardiac, Nervous, Pregnancy, and Vascular symptoms. To find out, click Show Symptom Tree (again, an Expert Mode option). The symptom tree shows the entire five-level tree and shows the number of times that something appeared in that tree. Keep in mind that a typical VAERS report has many symptoms listed, so the total number of symptoms that appears in the tree is much larger than the number of VAERS reports. Here is the second level of the tree, showing details for the symptoms in question:

Some of these symptoms are pretty serious, and it is hard to ignore the basic fact that 138 people have died following an HPV vaccination. If you are prone to any of these problems, or if you have any concerns about the HPV vaccine, you should discuss these issues with your doctor and make an informed decision.

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