- A number of families and consumers and healthcare professionals have been asking MVEC staff about the MTHFR gene and possible adverse events following immunisation [AEFI]
- MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, which is the name of an enzyme involved in folate metabolism
MTHFR gene polymorphisms, or harmless changes in the gene, are very common. MTHFR gene mutations are different to gene polymorphisms and are very rare and present differently [see below Resources: MTHFR VCGS].
Research and clinical reports have shown that multiple MTHFR gene polymorphisms have been linked to thromboembolism (or blood clots), but there has been no proven, or conclusive link regarding other health conditions. This includes adverse events [AEFI] following vaccines administered on the Australian National Immunisation Program.
We have sought advice from our expert colleagues at the Victorian Clinical Genetic Services, who have provided an excellent, clearly written document regarding the indications for and usefulness of the MHFTR test [see below Resources: MTHFR VCGS].
What to do?
- At MVEC, we believe that there is no clinical indication for MTHFR polymorphism testing before vaccination, as there is no proven increased risk of an AEFI
- If a family member has already had the test, we do not recommend any testing of relatives and feel it is safe to proceed with all immunisations
Authors: Nigel Crawford (Director SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Margie Danchin (Senior Research Fellow, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)
Date: February 2018
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.
You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.