Asthma and vaccination history in an australian young adult cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Recent overseas studies have suggested that vaccinations, particularly to measles, may contribute to an increased risk to atopic diseases such as asthma. We investigated whether vaccination history and in particular vaccination for MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) was associated with development of asthma in young adults. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 637 subjects in Melbourne, Australia, as part of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) between 1996 and 1998. Subjects were surveyed by an interviewer administered questionaire and atopy was assessed by skin prick testing to common aeroallergens. Questions related to vaccination with MMR, Triple antigen (DTP), Hepatitis B and Sabin polio vaccine (OPV). Results: Of the 637 subjects, all had received at least one of the vaccinations under study. There was a non-significant association observed for subjects diagnosed as asthmatics who had received MMR vaccinations compared to non-asthmatics (RR=1.25,95%CI=0.94-1.66). Non-significant associations were also observed for OPV and Hepatitis B vaccinations (RR=3.58,95%C1=0.5523.3 and RR=I.05,0.82-1.35, respectively). However, no associations with asthma were found for BCG and Triple antigen DTP vaccinations. Conclusions: This study does not support the hypothesis that childhood vaccinations may lead to an increased risk of atopic diseases such as asthma. However, studies of young adults are subject to significant recall bias.

Original languageEnglish
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001

Cite this