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Are vaccines safe?
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The link between vaccines and sudden death syndrome

Some claim vaccines are associated with sudden infant death syndrome.
Health Warning Misleading


For accurate information on the efficiency of vaccines, consult the WHO website.[1] A child born in the US is 76% more likely to die before their first birthday than children born in 19 other wealthy countries. At the same time, one of the top five causes of death among American children is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the name given to the unexplained death of a seemingly normal and healthy child.[2]

The Argument

A closer look at SIDS suggested a connection with vaccines. An increase in SIDS cases occurred in the 1980s, around the same time there was an increase in vaccinations. Also, the US vaccinates more infants in their first year than infants anywhere else in the world.[3] A study on the connection between the two found that there was a “positive correlation between the number of vaccine doses administered,” and the number of infant death cases in the US.[4] When a similar study looked at SIDS rates globally, it found the same correlation between vaccine rates and infant deaths. A 2014 study in Italy found that 12% of SIDS deaths occurred within seven days of the child receiving a vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B, poliovirus and hepatitis B. Although the researchers stopped short of suggesting a causal link between the two, they concluded that vaccine components “could have a direct role,” in the uptick in SIDS cases.

Counter arguments

There is no evidence for this. The claim is that immunisations and SIDS rates both increased in USA so must be linked. But the rate of SIDS has been decreasing for some time, while the rate of immunisation has been increasing. Babies receive several vaccinations between two and four months old. This happens to be the same age that they are at the greatest risk of SIDS. Multiple studies have been carried out to examine the relationship between the two. Each one has come to the same conclusion, that vaccines do not cause SIDS. There is no causal link between the two.[5] The most significant study was carried out in 2003 by the National Academy of Medicine (then known as the Institute of Medicine). It found no increased risk of SIDS after immunization. More than 129,000 children were examined as part of the study. In fact, general observations appeared to be that vaccines reduced the risk of SIDS.[6] This is also supported by the numbers. In 1999, around 5,000 infants in the US died from SIDS every year. A decade later, in 20099, that figure had fallen to 1,900 a year, despite vaccine use increasing.[7] A far greater contributor to SIDS is the baby’s sleeping position, whether there is a smoker in the house and bed sharing. Putting a baby to sleep on their back significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.



[P1] Numbers of child mortality rates due to sudden death syndrome are correlated to vaccine rates. [P2] A large amount of SIDS deaths come days after a vaccine is administered. [P3] Therefore, vaccines likely cause sudden death syndrome.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The two are not linked. Since 1999, SIDS rates have decreased despite vaccine rates increasing. [Rejecting P2] Babies are given several in their second to fourth months of life. This is also when they are most at risk of SIDS. There is no connection.


This page was last edited on Monday, 23 Mar 2020 at 14:30 UTC

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