Vaccine Safety

Vaccine safety is an important issue. Despite scientific evidence that overwhelmingly supports vaccine safety and effectiveness, vaccines cause concern for some parents. To better understand vaccine safety and effectiveness, it is important to review reliable information that is based on scientific evidence.

Common Vaccine Safety Concerns

What is Vermont Doing About Vaccine Safety?

Immunizations are our most powerful weapon against infectious diseases. Vaccines used in the United States are extremely safe because of rigorous licensing procedures, advances in medical research, and ongoing review by doctors, researchers and public health officials.

The Vermont Health Department has taken the following steps to ensure the effectiveness and safety of immunizations:

1. Professional Training - The Health Department provides information and training for health care providers on vaccine handling and storage, record keeping, informing families about risks and benefits, and reporting of reactions if they occur. The Immunization Program provides training and conducts site visits to 100% of the practices that receive vaccines from through the Vaccines for Children or Adult programs.

  • VFC provider outreach - The Immunization Program holds conference calls and circulates a newsletter three times a year to review any changes in vaccine recommendations and to share updates on vaccine safety and effectiveness. Information about reporting requirements for the National Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is also provided.
  • Immunization Registry - Vermont’s Immunization Registry tracks an individual’s immunizations and vaccine lot numbers. If a vaccine is recalled, the Immunization Registry can be used to quickly identify who received the vaccine in question.
  • Expert collaboration - Vermont participates in national meetings on vaccine safety, including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meetings. The Immunization Program team collaborates with leaders of the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP).

2. Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) access - As required by the Vaccines for Children program, the Immunization Program ensures that health care providers supply all patients with an updated VIS statement for each vaccine, prior to administration.

3. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

Precautions and Contraindications

The Immunization Action Coalition has a comprehensive chart that lists contraindications and precautions for all recommended vaccines.

  • The CDC offers extensive information on vaccine safety and the process to ensure all vaccines used in the U.S are safe and effective.
  • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is a nonprofit organization established in 1970 as a component of the US National Academy of Sciences that works outside the framework of government to provide evidence-based research and recommendations for public health and science policy.
  • General Vaccine Safety Concerns (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
  • The California Department of Public Health provides answers to common questions about vaccine safety.