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Institute for Vaccine Safety

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

615 N. Wolfe Street

Room W5041

Baltimore, MD 21205

www.vaccinesafety.edu

 

Hepatitis B Vaccine Does Not Cause Or Exacerbate Multiple Sclerosis

Two studies published in the February 1, 2001 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine confirm that there is no increased risk of multiple sclerosis following hepatitis B vaccine. 

  • One study, conducted in Europe, followed 643 patients with relapses of multiple sclerosis and demonstrated that there was no association between hepatitis B vaccine, tetanus toxoid, or influenza vaccine and exacerbations of multiple sclerosis. 
  • The second was a nested, case-control study based on two longitudinal studies, each including approximately 120,000 nurses.  This study demonstrated that there was no association between the development of multiple sclerosis and receipt of hepatitis B vaccine at any time before the onset of disease.

Both studies utilized rigorous methodology to avoid selection bias and recall biases; the diagnoses of multiple sclerosis and relapses were based on rigorous case definitions that have been agreed on by expert groups.  The high quality of these 2 studies should be used as a standard for future studies.

In an accompanying editorial in the same journal, Bruce Gellin and William Schaffner point out some of the problems that are faced in vaccine safety concerns.  One of the biggest problems is that many individuals, including some health professionals, incorrectly assume that causality can be determined based solely on temporal associations. 

The data from these studies should provide reassurance to people of all ages that hepatitis B vaccines are not associated with any increased risk of multiple sclerosis. 

 


		
This page was last updated on February 12, 2014