Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    MMR Vaccine Is Safe

    Experts Say Benefits Are Proven, Risks Are Not

    Addressing the Controversy continued...

    "The time relationship is a difficult one. Autism very commonly becomes apparent in the second year of life, and that's when you're giving MMR," says Katz, who also helped develop the measles vaccine now used worldwide.

    "These are epidemiological studies. That is, they are looking at large numbers of children and sorting out the numbers who develop autism and who did or didn't have the [MMR] vaccine," says Katz. "That's fine from the point of view of statistics and numbers, but those who are convinced that MMR has something to do with autism need the scientific proof."

    That's why Katz says several studies are being organized and are underway by the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, and the American Academy of Pediatrics that will address those issues more fully. But he also points out that no other research has been able to duplicate the findings of the Wakefield study, despite several attempts.

    Kathleen Stratton, PhD, senior program officer in the division of health promotion and disease at the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, says sorting out the scientific facts about the safety of vaccines in a practical way that parents can understand is one of the biggest challenges researchers face.

    "We would love to know how to say it better," says Stratton. "For some people, the scientific glass is always half empty."

    Stratton says healthcare providers should prepare parents and explain what is known about the benefits and possible risks of vaccination before their baby is born.

    "There is not a debate about the benefits of these vaccines. There is uncertainty about many of the risks," Stratton says.

    Katz and Stratton spoke at a briefing today on vaccine safety sponsored by the March of Dimes.

    1 | 2

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    Quiz
     
    calendar and baby buggy
    Tool
    dark chocolate squares
    Slideshow