Vaccine Safety: Real and Perceived Issues

Neal A. Halsey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Most adverse events caused by the vaccines are mild, and the serious adverse events caused by vaccines are usually rare. Vaccines are the most effective tools available for the prevention, and control of infectious diseases. Widespread use of vaccines has prevented millions of premature deaths, paralysis, blindness, and neurological damage. When compared to the risk of serious complications from the diseases that the vaccines protect against, the risks of serious consequences are usually 1000-fold, or greater with the natural disease than the vaccine. Vaccines, which are administered to healthy people, are held to a higher safety standard than medications to treat people who are already ill. Vaccines are often given universally to infants and children as even a very low risk of serious side effects can result in a substantial population-attributable risk. Efforts need to be made to increase understanding by the general public, and healthcare practitioners of how vaccine safety issues are properly investigated, and what constitutes evidence for causal relationships in order to minimize the risks for the public that the vaccines used to protect against disease, are as safe as possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Vaccine Book
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780121072582
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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