NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 28, 2010

A study published in the journal Pediatrics demonstrates that the recommended vaccine schedule for young children does not pose a health threat, despite fears that Reuters says led some parents to "skip recommended vaccines out of fear of autism." 

Health experts such as Dr. Michael J. Smith, one of the study's researchers and a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, as well as American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) trustee Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert and chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Wall Street Journal that they understand why some parents would be concerned, but that the real danger is not in the vaccines: 

  • Dr. Smith likens a parent's decision to delay vaccination to someone buckling their seat belt after 20 minutes of riding in the car: You don't know when you'll get hit.
  • Dr. Offit says the viral material in vaccines for babies is "literally a drop in the ocean" compared with how much bacteria a baby's immune system copes with each day. 

ACSH staffers hope this news will allay parents' fears, and we can't help but notice the study's propinquity to the recent news out of Britain.  After almost a three-year hearing, Britain's General Medical Council has found Andrew Wakefield guilty of "serious professional misconduct" in the way he carried out his research in the late 1990s, and revoked his medical license. 

"Wakefield was among those who propagated this rumor that too many vaccines are harmful for kids," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross.  "His 1998 study published in the Lancet, which has since been retracted, is also the source of the rumor that the MMR vaccine causes autism in children." 

Source: Report, "Vaccines' Safety Confirmed, Wakefield's Validity Denied," American Council on Science and Health, May 26, 2010. 

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