Infant vaccination correlates to reduced incidence of SIDS

At a time when enormous anxiety surrounds vaccination it’s comforting to know large research projects concluding, “that immunisations may reduce the risk of SIDS”, are accepted by SIDS support groups and public health officials.

Not only that but German researchers published in Vaccine have suggested that immunisations should be part of the SIDS prevention campaign, having found in 2007:

                                  Immunisations are associated with a halving of the risk of SIDS

Applying the sensible rule of seeking out reputable information regarding vaccination, a visit to SIDS and KIDS yields a succinct Information Statement.

Most compelling has been German research published in Vaccine. Vennemann et al. (2007) conducted meta-analyses on 307 SIDS cases and 971 controls. The findings written in SIDS: No increased risk after immunisation, are unambiguous:


SIDS cases were immunised less frequently and later than controls. Furthermore there was no increased risk of SIDS in the 14 days following immunisation. There was no evidence to suggest the recently introduced hexavalent vaccines were associated with an increased risk of SIDS.


This study provides further support that immunisations may reduce the risk of SIDS.

A few months later, Vennemann published with a smaller team again in Vaccine. The paper, Do immunisations reduce the risk of SIDS? A meta-analysis, included:


The summary odds ratio (OR) in the univariate analysis suggested that immunisations were protective, but the presence of heterogeneity makes it difficult to combine these studies. The summary OR for the studies reporting multivariate ORs was 0.54 (95% CI = 0.39–0.76) with no evidence of heterogeneity.


Immunisations are associated with a halving of the risk of SIDS. There are biological reasons why this association may be causal, but other factors, such as the healthy vaccine effect, may be important. Immunisations should be part of the SIDS prevention campaigns.

Other studies:

Because babies receive multiple vaccines during the first year of life and SIDS is the leading cause of death between 1 – 12 months of age, the CDC has looked at a possible causal association. They note:

Studies that looked at the age distribution and seasonality of deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). SIDS and VAERS reports following DTP vaccination, and SIDS and VAERS reports following hepatitis B vaccination found no association between SIDS and vaccination. ♣

The CDC also report that the USA Institute of Medicine (IOM) formed a committee to examine epidemiological evidence and look for any association between vaccination and, “SIDS, all sudden unexpected death in infancy, and neonatal death (infant death, whether sudden or not, during the first 4 weeks of life”. The committee further searched for relationships between SIDS and individual doses of diphtheria, tetanus, whole cell (and acellular) pertussis – DTwP, DTaP – and HepB, Hib, and polio. Then they looked for combinations of these same vaccines and any association with SIDS.

Another study using the vaccine safety datalink (VSD) examined 517 deaths between 1991 and 1995 that had occurred during the first year of life. No evidence to show vaccines cause SIDS could be found in any of the above studies. Similar projects have been carried out world wide replicating these results. The evidence is strongly in favour of vaccination having no possible causative effect in relation to SIDS.

What about SIDS research?

Recent research (published a month ago in Neuroscience) from the Oregon Health and Science University has raised some fascinating questions about the role of glial cells (supporting but not electrically active neurons) on individual cardiorespiratory neurons in the brainstem. It’s known that extensive growth of cell dendrites (outgrowths) is normal for cardiorespiratory neurons during the post natal period. This leads to optimal heart and lung control in the brainstem of infants. It’s already known however, that excessive glial cell accumulation is found in the brainstems of infants deceased as a result of SIDS.

What the OHSU study may very well show is that glial cells could interfere with the growth of neurons that regulate cardiorespiratory function. They have also established a relationship between glial cell depletion and the amount vs the size of dendritic outgrowth in the presence of certain growth factors. In being able to understand how this relates to the development of healthy cardiorespiratory function, researchers may begin to identify conditions at the cellular level that could preclude sudden death.

Some people blame vaccines for SIDS. Why?

It’s hard to wrap our thinking lobes around, but despite the abundance of evidence and advice from SIDS experts the antivaccination lobby cling desperately to the temporal association. We shouldn’t be surprised. Every single problem that occurs around the time of any vaccination is assumed to be causally related. The concern first arose in 1979 following a report of four deaths within 24 hours of immunisation. What followed was research in Australasia, North America and Europe that sought to confirm the mechanism, but failed to find any link at all.

Much damage was done by a micropalaeontologist who had emigrated from Slovakia to Australia. In 1985 whilst employed as a geological surveyor with NSW Department of Mineral Resources, one Viera Scheibner claimed to have witnessed “stressed breathing” whilst using an infant breathing monitor invented by her late husband. The infants had been recently vaccinated with DTP and Viera thus declared she had discovered the cause of SIDS. An excellent account of Viera Scheibner by Leask and McIntyre can be found here – (“Public opponents of vaccination: a case study” in Vaccine, 2003 pp.4700-4703).

In her book and elsewhere Scheibner writes deceptively that when Japan moved the vaccination age from under 12 months to 2 years the incidence of SIDS “virtually disappeared”. In fact she sourced figures from Japanese vaccination compensation reports. SIDS is only diagnosed in infants under 12 months. Thus SIDS had not disappeared, only the opportunity to link it to vaccination compensation.

Still, Scheibner argues that “a spate of 37 cot deaths” before the change was purportedly vaccine induced because, “when the vaccination age was moved to two years, the entity of cot death disappeared”. In fact analysis of Tokyo autopsy records suggests the actual incidence of SIDS rose considerably following the shift in vaccination age in 1975.

From 1979 to 1993, the last year studied, incidence of SIDS had increased 12 times (though this huge increase also reflects increased diagnosis, not just rate). What we can take from this is that Scheibner is intentionally deceptive. Actual records proposing the opposite to her claims, are there for her to access.

As Dr. Jay Wile notes whilst demolishing poor Viera in her 2009 article Vaccines Actually Protect Against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) the myth persists thanks to retelling by the usual culprits who fail to check Scheibner’s mere two sources.

Thus, the statement that Dr. Scheibner makes in her book is a lie, and that lie has been repeated over and over again. How in the world could Dr. Scheibner make such an outrageous claim and be believed?

Despite usurping Sweden’s cessation of whole cell pertussis vaccination, Scheibner forgets to recount the immediate rise in pertussis cases and their research effort into new pertussis vaccines. Nor does she recount how Sweden resumed pertussis vaccination to great success. Incredibly she argues that abandoning the vaccine in 1979 is the cause of Sweden’s low infant mortality (which can be traced to before 1960) and also triggered a milder form of pertussis infection.

Sadly, it doesn’t take much mud to stick and Scheibner is oft’ quoted in the appalling claim vaccination causes infant death. Today – as in right now, today – a group of antivaxxers gathered to hear Stephanie Messenger spread her dangerous message. Stephanie is author of Melanie’s Marvellous Measles, which takes kids aged 4 – 10 on a journey of discovering the ineffectiveness of vaccination while teaching them to embrace childhood disease and build immune systems naturally.

Stephanie lost a child to SIDS, blames vaccination and seems to have been twisted to the aims of Dorey’s Australian Vaccination Network. Her antivaccination shin dig was set up cloak and dagger style with the location sent via text only on the day to those who had paid and left a number. Her flyer promises a:

100% success rate [against SIDS]

Learn the latest on SIDS

This information is being hidden from the general public

With 30 years of “research” on vaccines and ten on SIDS Stephanie would provide another rehash of all the standards such as toxic ingredients, children getting sicker, vaccines causing cancer, the myth of herd immunity, “natural” alternatives, ensuring government benefits and so on. I wonder however if one person there will step in and offer her the help she clearly needs. This nonsense is paranoid, vindictive, emotionally damaging and antisocial in the extreme.

The reality is that on the subject of SIDS and infant health in general vaccination has an excellent record. Be sure to speak to your doctor or large support organisations for reputable government approved information.

According to the best informed and most genuine sources in Australia immunisation is associated with a lower risk of SIDS.

Go for it!

– ♣ A cautionary note on VAERS. The raw “data” accessible via VAERS is notoriously unreliable. VAERS exists to alert authorities to reporting trends. These trends reflect growing trends against vaccination, or anecdotal correlation. In short they err toward antivaccination propaganda and reports are often prompted by antivaccination site material.

The role of health authorities is to apply controlled studies to examine persistent trends in reporting. This is the case with SIDS. However, the false correlations that prompted the research will remain on the VAERS data base – and be used by antivax groups to further mislead. So to will the many self reporting mistakes, pranks and ideologically driven distortions.

This is true for all “adverse reactions” reported to VAERS. They are shown to be false, yet remain as original “data sets”. Thus VAERS data itself is not reliable. Follow up research tends to find no conclusive association in the majority of cases.