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

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

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

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

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

A new case of reactive arthritis after hepatitis B vaccination. Clin Exp Rheumatol 1993 Sep-Oct;11(5):585.

Hepatitis B vaccine associated with erythema nodosum and polyarthritis.

Acute sero-positive rheumatoid arthritis occurring after hepatitis vaccination.

Arthritis after hepatitis B vaccination. Report of three cases.

Erosive polyarthritis triggered by vaccination against hepatitis B.

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

The development of rheumatoid arthritis after recombinant hepatitis B vaccination.

Rheumatic disorders developed after hepatitis B vaccination.

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.

Hepatitis B virus infection in children and adolescents in a hyperendemic area: 15 years after mass hepatitis B vaccination.

Reactions to thimerosal in hepatitis B vaccines.

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

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

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

News reports:

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