Traveling abroad? Wondering about vaccines? As with other vaccines, travel vaccines also have associated risks and side effects that, often, doctors fail to mention. See below for studies and news reports linking travel vaccines to autoimmune issues, neurological issues and even death.

Despite what travel vaccine clinics tell you, most countries never check tourist vaccine records. Are they really going to turn away tourists? We also have to consider that travel vaccines are a business, just like all pharmaceutical products — and a BIG business if you consider how many tourists travel abroad every year. As with any medical purchase you make, it’s important to weigh benefits and risks.

Why do travel vaccines have side effects and risks, like other vaccines? Look at the list of common vaccine ingredients here:

Studies Exposing the Real Risks of Travel Vaccines:

Yellow Fever Vaccine:

Review of the risks and benefits of yellow fever vaccination including some new analyses. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2012 Apr;11 (4):427-48

This study shows the risk of DEATH from the Yellow Fever vaccine is higher than risk of contracting yellow fever as a traveller. “From 1990 to the present, the number of cases (n = 31) and deaths (n = 12) from the 17 D Yellow Fever Vaccine in travelers has exceeded the reports of YF (n = 6) acquired by natural infection, raising the question whether the risk of vaccination exceeds the benefit in travelers.”

Occurrence of Autoimmune Diseases Related to the Vaccine against Yellow Fever. Autoimmune Dis. 2014;2014:473170

This systematic review aims to identify the occurrence of autoinflammatory diseases related to Yellow Fever vaccine administration. “Six studies were identified describing 13 possible cases. The diseases were Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, multiple points evanescent syndrome, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, autoimmune hepatitis, and Kawasaki disease. The data suggest that 17D [yellow fever] vaccination may play a role in the mechanism of loss of self-tolerance [autoimmunity].”

Yellow Fever Virus Vaccine–associated Deaths in Young Women Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Oct; 17(10)

A study reporting Yellow Fever vaccine deaths in young women, stating: “A review of published and other data suggested a higher than expected number of deaths from yellow fever vaccine–associated viscerotropic disease among women 19–34 years of age without known immunodeficiency.”

Adverse events associated with 17D-derived yellow fever vaccination–United States, 2001-2002. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Nov

This report examines the immune system connection to serious adverse events after yellow fever vaccination after six severe adverse reactions involving immune response. Stating: “In 1999-2000, reports of fatalities after vaccination with 17D yellow fever vaccine focused mainly on cases of vaccine-associated adverse events and vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease. Here, we investigated six recent European cases to provide insight regarding immune-response involvement and to identify potential risk factors.”

Yellow fever vaccination and increased relapse rate in travelers with multiple scelerosis. Arch Neurol. 2011 Oct

A report on Yellow fever vaccination and increased relapse rates in travelers with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Yellow fever vaccines and international travelers. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2008 Jul

This study finds the risks of the vaccine outweigh potential benefits and it states: “Recently, reports of severe and previously unrecognized significant adverse events linked to the 17D [yellow fever] vaccine have caused major concern.”

Yellow fever vaccine: an updated assessment of advanced age as a risk factor for serious adverse events. Vaccine. 2005 May

This study show an increased severe side effect rate among those over 60yo. Suggesting that the older population really consider the risk of the vaccine over the benefits. “We found that the reporting rates of serious adverse events were significantly higher among vaccinees aged > or =60 years…”

Efficacy and duration of immunity after yellow fever vaccination: systematic review on the need for a booster every 10 years. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Sep

This study suggests that boosters are NOT needed despite recommendations that traveller should get boosters.

Major measles epidemic in the region of Quebec despite a 99% vaccine coverage. Can J Public Health. 1991 May-Jun

This study suggests that the vaccine does not provide complete protection as many outbreaks have been reported in vaccinated populations. A real risk-to-benefit analysis needs to be done.

Hepatitis B Vaccine:

Autoimmune hazards of hepatitis B vaccine. Autoimmun Rev, 2005

A review is made of data suggesting that HBV is remarkable by the frequency, the severity and the variety of its complications, some of them related to a mechanism of molecular mimicry leading to demyelinating diseases.

Hepatitis B triple series vaccine and developmental disability in US children aged 19 years. Journal Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry, 2008

The odds of receiving EIS (early intervention or special education services) were approximately nine times as great for vaccinated boys as for unvaccinated boys. This study found statistically significant evidence to suggest that boys in United States who were vaccinated with the triple series Hepatitis B vaccine, were more susceptible to developmental disability than were unvaccinated boys.

Hepatitis B vaccine induces apoptotic death in Hepa16 cells. Apoptosis, 2012

Vaccines can have adverse side-effects, and these are predominantly associated with the inclusion of chemical additives such as aluminum hydroxide adjuvant… We conclude that exposure of cells to a low dose of adjuvanted hepatitis B vaccine leads to loss of mitochondrial integrity, apoptosis induction, and cell death.

Recombinant hepatitis B vaccine and the risk of multiple sclerosis. Neurology Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, 2004

Immunization [vaccination] with the hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk of MS [multiple sclerosis], and challenge the idea that the relation between hepatitis B vaccination and risk of MS is well understood.

Rheumatic disorders developed after hepatitis B vaccination. Oxford Journals Medicine & Health Rheumatology, 1999

Hepatitis B vaccine might be followed by various rheumatic conditions and might trigger the onset of underlying inflammatory or autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

Arthritis after hepatitis B vaccination. Report of three casesClin Exp Rheumatol 1995 

These three cases show that arthritis after hepatitis B vaccination probably is more common than reported so far.

A one year follow up of chronic arthritis following rubella and hepatitis B vaccination based upon analysis of the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database.

This study revealed that adult rubella and adult hepatitis B vaccines were statistically associated with chronic arthritis which persisted for at least one year. The etiology for these adverse reactions may involve autoimmune mechanisms.

The development of rheumatoid arthritis after recombinant hepatitis B vaccination.

Hepatitis B vaccine may trigger the development of RA (rheumatoid arthritis)

Rheumatic disorders developed after hepatitis B vaccination.

Hepatitis B vaccine might be followed by various rheumatic conditions and might trigger the onset of underlying inflammatory or autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Autoimmunity following hepatitis B vaccine as part of the spectrum of ‘Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants’ (ASIA): Analysis of 93 cases. NCBI, February 2012

Risk factors such as autoimmune diseases and the appearance of adverse event(s) during immunization [vaccination] may serve to predict the risk of post-immunization [vaccination] diseases.

Evolution of multiple sclerosis in France since the beginning of hepatitis B vaccination.

A significant correlation between the number of hepatitis B vaccinations performed and the declaration to the pharmacovigilance of multiple sclerosis occurring between 1 and 2 years later…The correlation between hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis may be causal.

Neonatal Deaths After Hepatitis B Vaccine
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, 1991-1998

Neonatal deaths following HepB vaccination have been reported.

News reports:

Hepatitis B vaccine associated with erythema nodosum and polyarthritis.

Acute sero-positive rheumatoid arthritis occurring after hepatitis vaccination.

Erosive polyarthritis triggered by vaccination against hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination and arthritic adverse reactions: a followup analysis of the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database.

Yeast-derived hepatitis B vaccine and yeast sensitivity.

Reactions to thimerosal in hepatitis B vaccines.

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