Hemophilus Meningitis Vaccine Linked To Diabetes Increase

Doctor's Guide | May 7, 1999

BALTIMORE, MD -- May 7, 1999 -- The British Medical Journal published a Research Letter written by Dr. J. Bart Classen, an immunologist at Classen Immunotherapies, supporting a causal relationship between the hemophilus vaccine and the development of insulin dependent diabetes.

The data is particularly disturbing because it indicates the potential risks of the vaccine exceeds the potential benefit. The findings are expected to allow many diabetics to receive compensation for their injuries and lead to safer immunisation.

The data pertains to a study initiated and funded by Classen Immunotherapies which was performed using medical records of Finnish children. The study looked at the rate of diabetes in children receiving four or one dose of a weak, early generation, hemophilus vaccine and compared to the rate in children who received no vaccine. The children were followed for 10 years.

In the group receiving four doses of vaccine the rate of diabetes was elevated by 26 percent after seven years compared to children receiving no doses. There were an extra 58 cases of diabetes per 100,000 children immunised in the group receiving four doses of vaccine compared to children receiving no doses. This is equivalent to 2,300 cases of diabetes a year in the US, which has an annual birth rate of about four million children. However, even more cases of diabetes are expected with newer hemophilus vaccines which are in use today.

By contrast, immunisation against hemophilus is expected to prevent seven deaths and seven to 26 cases of severe disability per 100,000 children immunised in Finland.

The data shatters the prevailing myth that the benefits of vaccines far exceed the risks. The data is expected to allow many diabetic children to receive compensation for their illness. Each case of insulin dependent diabetes is estimated to cost on average over $1 million US in medical costs and lost productivity.

"Unfortunately, many public health officials and researchers funded by groups threatened by the findings continue to try to deny the association. This may prolong the financial burden of diabetics deserving compensation," Classen added.

In a letter published by the British Medical Journal, Classen describes analytical methods used by public health officials which may give readers the perception that the effect is smaller than it really is.

The news is not all bad for the vaccine field. The findings are expected to lead to changes in immunisation practices which will lead to a decline in childhood diabetes. Immunisation starting in the first month of life has been associated with a decreased risk of diabetes and is one method being considered to make immunisation safer.

Related Link: British Medical Journal