While vaccines for diseases like measles, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), and polio play a pivotal role in reducing disease burden, some studies have suggested that they might be associated with an increased risk of childhood mortality. This study aims to investigate the effects on non-specific and all-cause mortality in children under age 5 who were administered to Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), and standard titer measles-containing vaccines (MCV).
This systematic review and meta-analysis included clinical trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies investigating the effects of BCG, whole-cell DTP, and standard titer MCV on all-cause and cause-specific mortality in children. The primary outcome of the study was the incidence of all-cause and cause-specific mortality.
Results from 34 birth cohorts were recognized, with most evidence being in the form of observational studies and short-term clinical trials. However, most of the studies reported on all-cause mortality and not cause-specific mortality. The findings suggested that the receipt of the BCG vaccine was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality; receipt of DTP was associated with a possible increase of all-cause mortality; the receipt of standard titer MC was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
The research concluded that DTP was associated with a slightly increased risk of mortality, whereas BCG and MCV reduced the risk of mortality.