Wheezing lower respiratory disease and vaccination of full-term infants

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. Jan-Feb 2002;11(1):21-30. doi: 10.1002/pds.678.


Purpose: There have been speculations that increases in vaccinations have caused recent increases in wheezing lower respiratory disease during infancy. We assess possible associations between vaccines and incidence of wheezing in full-term infants.

Methods: We conducted a matched case-control study of full-term infants born into the Kaiser Permanente Northwest health plan during 1991-1994 and continuously enrolled for at least 12 months (n = 1366 case-control pairs). Potential cases of wheeze were ascertained from medical care databases and verified by chart review. Vaccinations, demographic factors, and wheeze risk factors were abstracted from charts. Adjusted relative risks of first onset of wheeze during post-vaccination exposure windows were estimated by conditional logistic regression. We also conducted case-series analyses of wheeze onsets.

Results: We found no evidence that risk of wheeze during infancy is associated with recency of vaccination with whole-cell pertussis (DTP), hepatitis b (HBV), Haemophilus influenzae type b (HIB), oral polio (OPV), or measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines. We also found no evidence that risk of first wheeze is associated with exposure to HBV or MMR.

Conclusions: Recent increases in wheezing during infancy do not appear to be related to increases in vaccinations of full-term infants.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Maternal Age
  • Measles Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Mumps Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Pertussis Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Rubella Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccination* / adverse effects


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Measles Vaccine
  • Mumps Vaccine
  • Pertussis Vaccine
  • Rubella Vaccine