In a somewhat bizarre coincidence, the typescript of the report by Rosenthal et al,1 sent to me by our esteemed editor, arrived concurrently with the "Report of the Nationwide Multicenter Acellular Pertussis Trial."2 The careful and persuasive studies described in the multicenter report cast a shadow on the rather unconvincing methods and conclusions of the article by Rosenthal et al, based on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The article based on VAERS is problematic in 2 respects: (1) the VAERS enterprise is not adequately described and (2) the report itself has serious methodological infelicities.
We asked Dr Brown to comment on the article in this issue by Rosenthal et al (page 457) because of his interest in vaccine adverse reaction reporting systems. We assured him that candor would not be interpreted as peevishness by the always-perceptive readers of the ARCHIVES.Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD