The REAL Side Effects of Vaccines

Vaccines certainly have potential side effects. Virtually everything does. Every year, approximately 350 people die taking baths1. Nevertheless, we all still take baths. That’s because the benefits of taking a bath far outweigh the risks. It’s the same with vaccines. Vaccines do have risks, but the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks. Thus, unless someone has specific health conditions that prohibit vaccination (these are called “contraindications”), they are much safer being vaccinated than not being vaccinated.

Anti-vaccination advocates try to claim that all sorts of nasty side effects are associated with vaccination. For example, most anti-vaccination websites will claim that certain vaccines can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), even though many controlled studies indicate that the incidence of SIDS amongst vaccinated children is lower than the incidence of SIDS amongst unvaccinated children2-4. In the same way, anti-vaccination advocates claim that vaccines are linked to autism, even though controlled studies show that there is no such link5-8. The list could go on and on.

If you are interested in learning the REAL side effects of vaccination and their frequency, you can simply go to the Center for Disease Control’s website. The CDC monitors (and often initiates) the latest studies on vaccination and compiles a detailed list of each vaccine and its side effects. If you want to make an informed choice regarding vaccination, please look at scientific sites like this one. You might also want to look at our article entitled “A Small List of the Lies Told by the Anti-Vaccination Movement” to see that many of the side effects that anti-vacciantion advocates claim are simply not real.


1. Budnick, L.D., and Ross, D.A., “Bathtub-related drownings in the United States, 1979-1981.” American Journal of Public Health, 75: 630-633, 1985. Return to Text
2. Essery SD, et. al. “The protective effect of immunisation against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) in relation to sudden infant death syndrome.” FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 1999;25:1-2, 183-92 Return to Text
3. Hoffman HS, et al. “Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization and sudden infant death: results of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Cooperative Epidemiological Study of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Risk Factors.” Pediatrics 1987;79:598-611. Return to Text
4. Walker, A.M., et al. “Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization and sudden infant death syndrome” Am. J. Public Health 1987;77:945-951 Return to Text
5. Taylor B, et al. “Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association.” Lancet 1999;353:2026-9. Return to Text
6. Kreesten Meldgaard Madsen, et al. “A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism” NEJM 2002;347:1477-1482 Return to Text
7. Peltola, H., et al. “No evidence for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine-associated inflammatory bowel disease or autism in a 14-year prospective study.” Lancet 1998;351:1327. Return to Text
8. Immunization Safety Review Committee, Stratton, Kathleen, et. al., (Ed) “Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine and Autism” Immunization Safety Review Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2001 ( Available online) Return to Text

Dr. Wile is not a medical doctor. He is a nuclear chemist. As a result, he does not dispense medical advice. He simply educates the public about scientific issues. Please consult a board-certified medical doctor before making any medical decisions for yourself or your family.