Can vaccines cause SIDS?
Vaccines have not been shown to cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Infants receive multiple vaccines between two and four months of age. This period is also when the risk of SIDS is highest. This has led some people to question if the two are related. However, because the incidence of SIDS is the same in children who do or do not receive vaccines, we know that SIDS is not caused by vaccines.
An example of how the hepatitis B vaccine was shown to not cause SIDS:
- In 1999, a news program in the US aired a story claiming that the hepatitis B vaccine caused SIDS.
- At the time of the introduction of the hepatitis B vaccine for routine use in all infants, about 5,000 children died every year from SIDS.
- Within 10 years of the introduction of the hepatitis B vaccine the use of the vaccine increased to about 90 percent of all infants receiving hepatitis B vaccine and the incidence of SIDS in that age group decreased dramatically to about 1,600 cases each year.
- The cause of the decrease in SIDS cases was attributed to the introduction of the “Back to Sleep” program by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- However, since immunizations are given to about 90 percent of children less than 1 year of age, and about 1,600 cases of SIDS occur every year, it would be expected, statistically, that every year about 50 cases of SIDS will occur within 24 hours of receipt of a vaccine.
Multiple research studies and safety reviews have looked at possible links between vaccines and SIDS. The evidence added up over many years does not show any links between childhood immunization and SIDS. Some studies have found that infants who died of SIDS were less likely to have been immunized.
Date last reviewed:
Monday, Jan 31, 2022