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October 9, 2002

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Boston, Massachusetts, USA:

My 12 year old son, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about two months ago, got hepatitis B shots at seven and two months prior to his diagnosis, and I was never asked about immunizations when discussing the onset of the diabetes. It is alarming that the first shot was "many months" before the onset. Since this series affects the liver, it seems to link. It is stated that type 1 diabetes takes months to activate, the hepatitis B immunizations is typically a series of two or three, and the duration is many months between them. There is no family history of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. What study did the American Diabetes Association conduct to prove hepatitis B immunizations are safe for our children? If no study has been conducted, why? (Please do not use the study in Atlanta to justify an answer that is totally an unacceptable sampling.) Am I missing something? If not, Why don't you conduct your own survey as to onset of diabetes after hepatitis B series on your website?


There is one small group only in the US that has claimed that there is a relationship between routine immunisations and the development of type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes. Their methodology has been found to be faulty by the Academy of Pediatrics and the Communicable Disease Center in this country, and perhaps most convincingly of all by the Public Health Department in New Zealand where the authors worked for a time. No evidence for any such relationship has so far been noted in a large ongoing study called DAISY. All this is really a reiteration of an answer to a previous question, there is also a large body of evidence that makes it almost certain that your son would have had a positive antibody test for autoimmunity some years before he received the hepatitis injections.