Tracking Vaccine Reactions
A national registry has been set up to facilitate reporting and tracking all side effects potentially caused by vaccines. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a centralized organization that analyzes all potential vaccine reactions. Anyone, including doctors and parents, can submit a report of a possible vaccine side effect directly to the national database.
As a parent, how can you be sure that the organization actually carries out its mission? How can you trust that the people analyzing the data do not have any conflict of interests and allow harmful vaccines to stay on the market?
To be sure, the system has already worked in the past. In 1998, when the first rotavirus vaccine was licensed for wide release, a rare but potentially fatal reaction was detected less than a year after the vaccine was in use. The VAERS quickly identified this possible side effect, and the RotaShield vaccine was immediately taken off the market. Even though the risk of experiencing this serious side effect was very small (less than 1 in 10,000), doctors and pharmaceutical companies did not hesitate to stop this vaccine. Not only do doctors want to avoid harming their patients, vaccine manufacturers certainly do not welcome any possible lawsuits resulting from an identifiable side effect. For a more detailed discussion on the rotavirus vaccine, read Chapter 12. To learn how you can report a possible vaccine-related side effect, refer to Appendix C.