Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Sci Transl Med. 2011 Jul 27;3(93):93rv2. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002302.

Assessing the safety of adjuvanted vaccines.

Author information

Global Clinical Sciences, Vaccines Research, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, 53100 Siena, Italy.


Despite the very low risk-to-benefit ratio of vaccines, fear of negative side effects has discouraged many people from getting vaccinated, resulting in reemergence of previously controlled diseases such as measles, pertussis, and diphtheria. Part of this fear stems from the lack of public awareness of the many preclinical and clinical safety evaluations that vaccines must undergo before they are available to the general public, as well as from misperceptions of what adjuvants are or why they are used in vaccines. The resultant "black box" leads to a preoccupation with rare side effects (such as autoimmune diseases) that are speculated, but not proven, to be linked to some vaccinations. The focus of this review article is to open this black box and provide a conceptual framework for how vaccine safety is traditionally assessed. We discuss the strengths and shortcomings of tools that can be and are used preclinically (in animal studies), translationally (in biomarker studies with human sera or cells), statistically (for disease epidemiology), and clinically (in the design of human trials) to help ascertain the risk of the infrequent and delayed adverse events that arise in relation to adjuvanted vaccine administration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center