Study: Recommended Immunization Schedule is Safe for Babies
January 17, 2013
The federal childhood immunization schedule is safe for babies, according to a new report released by the Institute of Medicine.
The current schedule, prepared by the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, entails 24 immunizations by age two. Some kiddos may receive as many as five injections during a single visit to the pediatrician, leading some parents to complain that the current schedule is too “crowded” and may compromise a young child’s developing immune system.
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Not so, says the Institute of Medicine committee, whcih has reviewed the available evidence on the safety of the current, recommended vaccine timetable. IOM committees have conducted more than 60 studies on vaccine safety. But this report is the first of its kind to examine the entire childhood immunization schedule and is the most comprehensive examination of the subject to date.
“The committee’s review did not reveal an evidence base suggesting that the U.S. childhood immunization schedule is linked to autoimmune diseases, asthma, hypersensitivity, seizures, child developmental disorders, learning or developmental disorders, or attention deficit or disruptive disorders,” the report reads.
While some parents have requested flexibility in the schedule – delaying immunizations, having fewer shots per visits or outright rejecting vaccines – the report notes that studies have repeatedly demonstrated health benefits associated with the present schedule: fewer illnesses, deaths and hospital stays.
“While parents generally worry about children’s health and well-being, and their concerns about immunization safety can be viewed in that context, delaying or declining vaccination has led to outbreaks of such vaccine-preventable diseases as measles and whooping cough that may jeopardize public health, particularly for people who are under-immunized or who were never immunized,” the report reads.
The report also notes that states where it is easier to get out of immunizations were associated with a 90 percent higher incidence of whooping cough in 2011. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whooping cough is spreading through the U.S. in record numbers.
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