Comparison of VAERS fetal-loss reports during three consecutive influenza seasons: was there a synergistic fetal toxicity associated with the two-vaccine 2009/2010 season?

Citation

Evidence Type: Research (Data Analysis)
Hum Exp Toxicol. 2013 May;32(5):464-75. doi: 10.1177/0960327112455067. Epub 2012 Sep 27. - Comparison of VAERS fetal-loss reports during three consecutive influenza seasons: was there a synergistic fetal toxicity associated with the two-v... - PubMed - NCBI Score: 0.0/0.0

Discussion

The aim of this research was to determine if the 2009/2010 flu vaccine resulted in higher fetal loss by looking at two sources of data: from the VAERS database, and the results of an internet survey conducted by a known anti-vax (as well as anti-GMO, and anti-science in general) group called the "National Coalition of Organized Women".

The data used in this research showed that in the 2009/2010 flu season there was an increase in the reporting of fetal loss after the mother to be had the flu shot. This analysis fails to take into account how the VAERS database is not reliable for this type of analysis, that there was a big PR campaign against the flu vaccine that year (which would artificially inflate VAERS entries), and that the same flu vaccine was used the next year without any such "problems" demonstrated. Unfortunately the research paper spends next to no time discussing these possible sources of error or how they could influence the results.

If you want to read some more on this study you can look at

Strengths/Weaknesses

Conclusions

Strength/Weakness 1

Strong weakness: Industry Independence

The study claims independence of funding for the study itself, but admits to funding from an anti-vax group for publication fees.

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Strength/Weakness 2

The study claims independence of funding for the study itself, but admits to funding from an anti-vax group for publication fees.

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Strength/Weakness 3

Very strong weakness: Well Designed Research

The study claims independence of funding for the study itself, but admits to funding from an anti-vax group for publication fees.

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Strength/Weakness 4

Strong weakness: Well Designed Research

The study claims independence of funding for the study itself, but admits to funding from an anti-vax group for publication fees.

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Strength/Weakness 5

Although there are a good number of data points used in this study, it can hardly be called a strength when the data itself is so unusable.


Conclusion 1

The study claims to provide strong evidence against the safety of the 2009/2010 flu vaccine, but the evidence used to reach that conclusion is not strong enough to make this claim.

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