|Vaccine safety is taken very seriously. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) collaborate in managing, for instance, a
multi-component system to monitor and assess the safety of vaccines. This system
includes a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) that enables parents, health
care providers, and others to report what they believe are possible reactions to
vaccines, as well as databases and studies that evaluate potential links between
vaccines and adverse reactions. This system also includes the development and
distribution of educational materials that help parents and health care providers
understand vaccine benefits and risks.
Important Facts About Polio and DTaP Vaccines
- In 1999, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the
use of the inactivated polio virus vaccine (IPV) to eliminate the rare complication
of vaccine associated paralytic polio, found with the use of oral polio vaccine.
- In 1997, due to safety concerns with the whole cell pertussis component of the
diptheria tetanus pertussis vaccines (DTP), a recommendation to change to a safer
form of the pertussis component (DTaP) has resulted in far fewer adverse events.
- Under the updated schedule, IPV is now the only polio vaccine recommended for
routine use in the United States. All children should receive a dose of IPV at 2
months, 4 months, between 6-18 months, and 4-6 years, for a total of 4 doses.
- Since 1979, the only cases of polio in the United States have been caused by the
oral polio virus vaccine. The risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis
(VAPP) from the oral polio vaccine is about one case in every 2.4 million doses.
- Since 1997, after the sequential schedule (with 2 doses of IPV followed by 2 doses
of OPV) was recommended, VAPP has decreased in the U. S. No cases of VAPP have been
associated with IPV, so the recommendation to use an all-IPV schedule for routine
childhood polio vaccination will eliminate the rare occurrence of VAPP in the U. S.
- Since the sequential schedule has been well accepted despite the need for
additional injections, and the global eradication of polio has progressed rapidly
making importation of wild_type polio virus into the U.S. much less likely, the
switch to an all_IPV schedule is the best policy.
CDC, National Immunization Program: http://www.cdc.gov/nip
- In 1997, the ACIP recommended diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular
pertussis (DTaP) vaccines to be given for all five doses in the childhood
immunization schedule. Prior to 1996, whole-cell pertussis (DTP) vaccines were used
exclusively for the first three doses and either DTaP or DTP vaccine could be used
for the remaining two doses.
- The change to recommend DTaP vaccines for all five doses in the schedule was made
because of its improved safety over previous vaccines.
- The DTaP vaccines, which are made with purified components from the pertussis
bacterium, are less frequently associated with adverse reactions. Local adverse
reactions following the first 3 doses of DTaP were significantly less common than
following DTP vaccination. Systemic reactions following DTaP vaccination also occur
less frequently than following DTP.
- In addition to their improved safety profile, DTaP vaccines have been shown to be
at least as effective as whole-cell DTP vaccines.
Last updated: August 2001