Anaphylactic shock after vaccination 'extremely rare'

A sudden, serious allergic reaction -- known anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock -- following vaccination, is "extremely rare," concludes research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Anaphylaxis can be fatal and can be triggered by several factors, including specific foods, airborne allergens, stings and bites, and drugs/vaccines.

But because anaphylaxis is rare, it is usually very difficult to pick this up as a potential side effect of a new treatment during clinical trials. Manufacturers have to rely on data collected after the product has come to market.

The authors base their findings on children under the age of 16 in the UK and Ireland, who were suspected of having experienced anaphylaxis after being vaccinated between 2008 and 2009.

All the cases came from specialists, who were asked to report on any child they treated with suspected or actual anaphylaxis following a vaccination during this period to the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit.

During this time, 15 cases were reported following vaccination with the single measles jab; the HPV jab which is used to protect against cervical cancer; two types of vaccine for meningitis; a hepatitis A vaccine; typhoid vaccine; and a school leaver's booster jab (probably tetanus/polio).

Only seven of these cases were confirmed as anaphylaxis. Six children required an injection of adrenaline and intravenous fluids. All made a full recovery; one child recovered without treatment.

Three of these children already carried injectable adrenaline, which is used to treat severe allergic reactions.

Two of the cases were associated with the single component measles vaccine. As more than 16,000 doses were imported over the study period, this gives an incidence of 12 cases of anaphylaxis for every 100,000 doses, say the authors.

Three of the cases were associated with the HPV vaccine. More than two million doses of this were administered during the study period, giving an incidence of 1.4 cases per million doses.

None of the cases were associated with the normal pre-school or infant immunisation schedule, including the triple MMR jab.

And around 5.5 million children would have received routine vaccinations during this period without any reported cases of anaphylaxis, say the authors.

"This is extremely reassuring data for the general public and healthcare workers alike," they conclude. "Despite its limitations, the small numbers of cases reported are likely to be a true estimate of anaphylaxis [following immunisation] rates."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Should the UK introduce a chickenpox vaccination?

Nov 08, 2007

The only realistic way of preventing deaths and severe complications arising from chickenpox is to routinely vaccinate children against the disease, concludes research published ahead of print in Archives of Disease in Ch ...

Study on government's controversial choice of HPV vaccine

Jul 18, 2008

The UK government may save up to £18.6 million a year by deciding to use the HPV vaccine Cervarix, given that it is equally effective as the more expensive Gardasil in preventing cervical abnormalities, according to a study ...

Recommended for you

World 'losing the battle' to contain Ebola: MSF

6 minutes ago

International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said Tuesday the world was "losing the battle" to contain Ebola and called for a global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa.

Mutating Ebola viruses not as scary as evolving ones

36 minutes ago

My social media accounts today are cluttered with stories about "mutating" Ebola viruses. The usually excellent ScienceAlert, for example, rather breathlessly informs us "The Ebola virus is mutating faster in humans than in animal hosts ...

War between bacteria and phages benefits humans

1 hour ago

In the battle between our immune systems and cholera bacteria, humans may have an unknown ally in bacteria-killing viruses known as phages. In a new study, researchers from Tufts University, Massachusetts ...

Ebola kills 31 people in DR Congo: WHO

3 hours ago

An outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 31 people and the epidemic remains contained in a remote northwestern region, UN the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

Dengue fever strikes models in Japan

5 hours ago

A worsening outbreak of dengue fever in Japan has claimed its first celebrities—two young models sent on assignment to the Tokyo park believed to be its source.

Japanese researchers develop 30-minute Ebola test

5 hours ago

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

User comments