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Am J Epidemiol 2012 Nov 15;176(10):949-57

Characterizing Vaccine-associated Risks Using Cubic Smoothing Splines.

Brookhart MA, Walker AM, Lu Y, Polakowski L, Li J, Paeglow C, Puenpatom T, Izurieta H, Daniel GW


Estimating risks associated with the use of childhood vaccines is challenging. The authors propose a new approach for studying short-term vaccine-related risks. The method uses a cubic smoothing spline to flexibly estimate the daily risk of an event after vaccination. The predicted incidence rates from the spline regression are then compared with the expected rates under a log-linear trend that excludes the days surrounding vaccination. The 2 models are then used to estimate the excess cumulative incidence attributable to the vaccination during the 42-day period after vaccination. Confidence intervals are obtained using a model-based bootstrap procedure. The method is applied to a study of known effects (positive controls) and expected noneffects (negative controls) of the measles, mumps, and rubella and measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccines among children who are 1 year of age. The splines revealed well-resolved spikes in fever, rash, and adenopathy diagnoses, with the maximum incidence occurring between 9 and 11 days after vaccination. For the negative control outcomes, the spline model yielded a predicted incidence more consistent with the modeled day-specific risks, although there was evidence of increased risk of diagnoses of congenital malformations after vaccination, possibly because of a "provider visit effect." The proposed approach may be useful for vaccine safety surveillance.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #23100246 DOI: 10.1093/aje/kws158
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2012-12-09 Entry Last Modified: 2012-12-11