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New Research at Sheba: The Safety of Vaccines

safety of vaccines
Recent studies confirmed the safety of 57 vaccines approved by the FDA over the past 20 years, showing the effectiveness and benefits of current control systems.

Are you wondering whether or not to vaccinate against the flu, or against coronavirus once we have a vaccine? New research carried out at Sheba sheds light on the topic, proving that vaccines are safe for use and helping to debunk many of the claims made by anti-vaxxers.

The recent peer-reviewed study, led by Dr. Noam Tau, a physician at Sheba Medical Center, was published in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine. The research was designed and conducted in collaboration with Dr. Dafna Yahav of Beilinson Hospital, and Dr. Daniel Shepshelovich of Ichilov Hospital.

“The results of our study demonstrate how the US FDA is highly effective at evaluating the safety of vaccines before their release, as well as tracking their safety record after approval,” said Tau.

57 vaccines approved from 1996 to 2015 yielded about 58 safety-related issues, which Tau asserted is very reassuring. Why? Because most of the safety issues were mild and insignificant, associated with potential allergies or limitations on use due to a pre-existing condition or pregnancy. However, none of these issues caused significant health problems, thereby reaffirming that the FDA’s original approval process is solid, comprehensive and reliable.

One vaccine, called RotaShield, was withdrawn from the market because it led to more problems than allowed by the FDA. This particular vaccine against rotavirus led to mild bowel side effects in one in 5,000 to 10,000 people. The problems were very rare, and Tau points out that the fact that it was removed so quickly after approval is a clear indication of the effectiveness of the FDA’s follow-up monitoring systems for safety.

Tau explained that his research can help build public trust. “My study points to very high safety levels of vaccines, and it’s important that this clear information is available right now, if public confidence in vaccines is to be developed.” He added, “I know I won’t sway dedicated anti-vaxxers, but I hope that the many people who are on the fence will be swayed by this study to vaccinate their children.”

“This research can help raise awareness of the importance of vaccines and their positive impact. Especially these days, when we are making huge efforts to develop a vaccine against coronavirus, and certainly as winter approaches and the time to take flu vaccines approaches, it’s essential the public knows how beneficial the check-and-balance system on vaccines is. The control systems help to identify any rare side effects as quickly as possible, ensuring patient safety,” said Tau. “Again, Sheba continues to lead the way in research to advance public medicine and change the face of medicine in the future.”

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