Hey, anti-vaxxers, you may relax. A review of 67 recent studies on childhood vaccinations has found no link between vaccines and autism.
The study is intended to ease the “minds” of Jenny McCarthy and Donald Trump‘s true believers — parents who are convinced that by taking measures to protect their (and other) children’s health are somehow damning their kids to whatever happens to be the flavor of the week scare.
“This report should give parents some reassurance,” pediatrician Courtney Gidengil of Rand and Boston Children’s Hospital, a co-author of the study, told USA Today.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines,” co-author Margaret Maglione, also a researcher with Rand, said. “With the rise of the Internet and the decline of print journalism, anyone can put anything on the Internet.”
According to the report, there is “strong evidence” that the measles vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of autism — which, if they choose to finally exercise some rational thought, should quell the fears of the parents responsible for the recent record measles outbreak in California and the twenty-year high rate of measles in Ohio.
The report notes that some vaccines, like flu shots and the measles/mumps/rubella combined vaccine, can be associated with increased risk of fever-related seizures in small children–however, these are typically benign and cause no lasting problems.
Vaccines against rotavirus can increase risk of intussusception, a form of intestinal blockage in which part of the intestines telescopes into itself–but the risk is small, there, too–an additional one to give cases of intussusception for every 100,000 doses administered. However, the rotavirus infection also causes intussusception, notes pediatrician Paul Offit, chief of infectious disease at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Offit notes that rates of intussusception are down since vaccines for rotavirus were introduced.
While this report is unlikely to convince the die-hard anti-science crowd, it is hoped that enough parents are convinced to take action on their kids’ behalf. Many vaccine-preventable illnesses are making a comeback, including whooping cough.
This epidemic of stupidity has led to at least some schools taking steps to deal with the problem by telling children of anti-vaxxers to stay home from school, regardless of what “religious exemptions” they claim.
In April, the CDC noted that vaccines given to infants and children over the past twenty years will prevent 322 million diseases, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of the recipients’ lifetimes.
To put the risks into perspective, almost 38,000 children under 4 were injured in car crashes, and 523 died, in 2012 alone, according to the CDC. “The most dangerous aspect of giving your child vaccines is driving to the office to get them,” Offit said.