Immunization Science

Childhood Vaccination and Type 1 Diabetes

The article

Childhood Vaccination and Type 1 Diabetes. Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, and Melbye M. New England Journal of Medicine 2004;350(14):1398-1404

The question

Is there a link between childhood vaccinations and the development of type 1 diabetes?

The study

Danish researchers evaluated all children born in Denmark from January 1, 1990, through December 31, 2001, for whom detailed information on both vaccinations and type 1 diabetes was available. The immunization schedule in Denmark is similar to, but different, than that used in the United States.

They compared immunization records with diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for all the children to find significant trends.

The findings

Type 1 diabetes was diagnosed in 681 children during 4,720,517 person-years of follow-up.

There were no more cases of type 1 diabetes among vaccinated children compared with unvaccinated children, thus showing no link between vaccination and the development of type 1 diabetes. The study also found that even in those children who were genetically predisposed—those who had a sibling with the disease—type 1 diabetes was not significantly associated with vaccination.

In addition, there was no evidence that the number of cases rose two to four years after vaccination with any vaccine.

The relevance/bottom line

This study was able to evaluate possible associations between childhood vaccination and type 1 diabetes in an entire population. No causal relationship was found.

NNii’s comments

The IOM has previously concluded that the available data does not support a causal relationship between immunization and type 1 diabetes. This and other recent studies confirm that there is no causal relation between childhood vaccination and type 1 diabetes.