NFID Annual Conference on Vaccinology Research
NFID Annual Conference on Vaccinology Research
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Hause A, et al. Association between vaccine exemption policy change and increased parental adverse event reporting. Presented at: NFID Annual Conference on Vaccinology Research; June 18-19, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Hause reports no relevant financial disclosures.
June 24, 2020
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Findings suggest more parents using VAERS to help apply for vaccine exemptions

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Hause A, et al. Association between vaccine exemption policy change and increased parental adverse event reporting. Presented at: NFID Annual Conference on Vaccinology Research; June 18-19, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Hause reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Study findings from California indicate that parents may be using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, to help them apply for medical vaccine exemptions for their children, researchers reported.

Data presented during the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases’ Virtual Annual Conference on Vaccinology Research showed that the proportion of parent reports to VAERS after the implementation of Senate Bill 277 (SB277) — a California law that banned personal belief vaccine exemptions for children entering schools — increased by 9 percentage points.

According to Anne Hause, PhD, MSPH, a vaccinology fellow at the CDC, and colleagues, filing a VAERS report “may be perceived as helpful in applying for a medical exemption.”

Anne Hause

“We decided to do this study because previous studies described ... large increases in medical exemptions following the implementation of this bill, which of course eliminated nonmedical immunization exemptions,” Hause told Healio. “We were curious if there would be a similar trend to VAERS, which is comanaged by CDC and FDA.”

Hause and colleagues examined trends in VAERS reporting before and after SB277 was implemented in 2015. Data from 6,703 VAERS reports submitted between June 1, 2011, and July 31, 2018, showed that the proportion of parental reports increased from 14% to 23%.

“After this bill was introduced, we observed more adverse event reports of permanent disability, and a greater proportion of reports that were coming from parents, as well as kind of a shift in the type of reports submitted by parents,” Hause said. “Particularly, this trend was observed in reports coming from parents for children that have received vaccines more than 6 months prior to the vaccination.”

Hause said they observed increased reports of behavioral or developmental adverse events such as anxiety, autism and developments with a delay.

“These adverse events, in particular, are not known to be associated with vaccines,” she said.

The researchers highlighted the importance of follow-ups by physicians, local and county public health authorities and school district administrative personnel to ensure that children have a valid reason for a medical exemption.

“Physicians and public health authorities need to ensure that there is a valid reason for medical exemptions, which is actually covered by the follow-up bill to this bill, SB276, which requires all medical exemptions to be reviewed by the state department of public health,” Hause said.