Mapping the world's opinions

argument top image

Are vaccines bad? Show more Show less

The safety of vaccines has been contested since 1763 when an Italian Doctor named Gatti introduced inoculations to the French. Since then, concerns over the safety and sanitation of vaccinations have led to a world-wide anti-vaccination movement. Are ‘anti-vaxers’ right to refuse inoculations? Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are bad. Show more Show less

Big Pharma puts profit above safety, and promotes misinformation about the dangers of disease that our bodies are perfectly capable of fighting off without vaccinations.
<< Previous (2 of 3 Positions) Next >>

The link between vaccines and sudden death syndrome

Vaccines have been linked to infant sudden death syndrome.

<< Previous (4 of 7 Arguments) Next >>
Health Warning Misleading


A child born in the US is 76% more likely to die before their first birthday than children born in 19 other wealthy countries. At the same time, one of the top five causes of death among American children is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the name given to the unexplained death of a seemingly normal and healthy child.[1]

The Argument

These statistics prompted researchers to wonder why, when the US spends more on child healthcare than other developed nations, is the death rate among infants so high? A closer look at SIDS reveals a connection with vaccines. An uptick of SIDS cases occurred in the 1980s, around the same time there was a major uptick in vaccinations. Also, the US vaccinates more infants in their first year than infants anywhere else in the world.[2] A study on the connection between the two found that there was a “positive correlation between the number of vaccine doses administered,” and the number of infant death cases in the US.[3] When a similar study looked at SIDS rates globally, it found the same correlation between vaccine rates and infant deaths. A 2014 study in Italy was able to provide a deeper probe into the link. It found that 12% of SIDS deaths occurred within seven days of the child receiving a vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B, poliovirus and hepatitis B. Although the researchers stopped short of suggesting a causal link between the two, they concluded that vaccine components “could have a direct role,” in the uptick in SIDS cases.

Counter arguments

Babies receive several inoculations between two months and four months old. This happens to be the same age that they are at the greatest risk of SIDS. Multiple studies have been carried out to examine the relationship between the two. Each one has come to the same conclusion, that vaccines do not cause SIDS. There is no causal link between the two.[4] The most significant study was carried out in 2003 by the National Academy of Medicine (then known as the Institute of Medicine). It found no increased risk of SIDS after immunization. More than 129,000 children were examined as part of the study. In fact, general observations appeared to be that vaccines reduced the risk of SIDS.[5] This is also supported by the numbers. In 1999, around 5,000 infants in the US died from SIDS every year. A decade later, in 20099, that figure had fallen to 1,900 a year, despite vaccine use increasing.[6] A far greater contributor to SIDS is the body position that a baby sleeps in. Before their first birthday, infants that sleep on their back are able to reduce the risk of SIDS.


Enter the framing of the argument here ...


[P1] Numbers of child mortality rates due to sudden death syndrome are correlated to vaccine rates. [P2] A large amount of SIDS deaths come days after a vaccine is administered. [P3] Therefore, vaccines likely cause sudden death syndrome.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The two are not linked. Since 1999, SIDS rates have decreased despite vaccine rates increasing. [Rejecting P2] Babies are given several in their second to fourth months of life. This is also when they are most at risk of SIDS. There is no connection.


Do you agree?

Sign up or log in to record your thoughts on this argument

Further Reading

Enter more information about the argument here ...



Explore related arguments

This page was last edited on Wednesday, 5 Feb 2020 at 12:10 UTC