mandated under Section 312 of P.L. 99-660, was to address the serious adverse effects of pertussis and rubella vaccines. The Committee to Review the Adverse Consequences of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines published its findings in 1991 (Institute of Medicine, 1991). Appendix A contains the Executive Summary of that report.
The second study, mandated under Section 313 of P.L. 99-660, was to review adverse events associated with other vaccines commonly administered during childhood. The Vaccine Safety Committee, which was charged with performing the second study, was convened early in 1992. The results of that inquiry are provided in this report.
The members of the interdisciplinary, 14-member Vaccine Safety Committee have expertise in such areas as immunology, pediatrics, internal medicine, infectious diseases, neurology, virology, microbiology, epidemiology, and public health. The committee was charged with (1) reviewing the relevant scientific and medical literature on specific risks to children associated with the vaccines or vaccine components directed against tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and hepatitis B currently licensed for use in the United States and (2) reviewing the available data on specific risk-modifying factors, that is, circumstances under which administration of these vaccines increases the risk of an adverse event, characteristics of groups known to be at increased risk of an adverse event, and timing of vaccination that increases the risk of an adverse event.
Risk-benefit comparisons or recommendations about immunization schedules were not within the charge to the Vaccine Safety Committee. Despite the name of the committee, many aspects of vaccine safety, such as purity standards or production techniques, also were beyond the committee's charge.
Both IOM studies mandated in P.L. 99-660 entailed the evaluation of the weight of scientific and medical evidence bearing on the question of whether a causal relation exists between certain vaccines and specific serious adverse events. Like the Committee to Review the Adverse Consequences of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines, the Vaccine Safety Committee approached its task from a position of neutrality, presuming neither the presence nor the absence of a causal relation between the vaccines and the adverse events under consideration.
Over the course of 18 months, the committee met six times, reviewed more than 7,000 abstracts of scientific and medical studies, read more than 2,000 published books and articles (including many sources in the non-