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Fears over vaccine risks 'overblown'

Public concerns that vaccines could be linked with increased autoimmune disease are over-blown, as an association has rarely been proved, a review has concluded.

But vigilance is needed when new vaccines are introduced to ensure they do not provoke autoimmune reactions, warns the review, co-written by Professor David Wraith of the department of pathology and microbiology at the University of Bristol.

The review of studies into the effect of vaccination on autoimmune disease, published in The Lancet, outlines the possible causes and triggers of autoimmunity and autoimmune disease, and highlights that only a large-scale trial or epidemiological study can provide proof.

It says patients are not at risk of exacerbation from being given any of the available vaccines, but 'only a comprehensive and multidisciplinary strategy can help to reduce the risk that a new vaccine will induce auto-immune manifestations'.

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