OBJECTIVE:

This study evaluates the potential association of vaccination and death in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD).

METHODS:

The study cohort included individuals ages 9 to 26 years with deaths between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2011. We implemented a case-centered method to estimate a relative risk (RR) for death in days 0 to 30 after vaccination.Deaths due to external causes (accidents, homicides, and suicides) were excluded from the primary analysis. In a secondary analysis, we included all deaths regardless of cause. A team of physicians reviewed available medical records and coroner’s reports to confirm cause of death and assess the causal relationship between death and vaccination.

RESULTS:

Of the 1100 deaths identified during the study period, 76 (7%) occurred 0 to 30 days after vaccination. The relative risks for deaths after any vaccination and influenza vaccination were significantly lower for deaths due to nonexternal causes (RR 0.57, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.38–0.83, and RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.24–0.80, respectively) and deaths due to all causes (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.56–0.91, and RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.28–0.65). No other individual vaccines were significantly associated with death. Among deaths reviewed, 1 cause of death was unknown, 25 deaths were due to nonexternal causes, and 34 deaths were due to external causes. The causality assessment found no evidence of a causal association between vaccination and death.

CONCLUSIONS:

Risk of death was not increased during the 30 days after vaccination, and no deaths were found to be causally associated with vaccination.

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