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FAQ: Children's Vaccines

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What is the current vaccination schedule?

The immunization schedule changes frequently as more vaccines are developed and as we learn which ones require a booster. You can find a vaccination schedule by visiting the CDC web site at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html.

Your pediatric provider should inform you of the latest recommendations for vaccines.

 

Do vaccines cause autism?

The answer is NO.

This question has vexed parents since it was first raised over a decade ago.  Some parents noticed autistic symptoms in their children following immunizations. In such cases, it's hard not to assume the vaccines (or some additive in the vaccines) were responsible for the symptoms.

This was a reasonable hypothesis, but it turns out that subsequent research has debunked it. For example:

  • Large studies in Scandinavia (where they keep exhaustive records) demonstrated no association at all with administration of vaccines and the onset of autism.
  • Despite the elimination of one worrisome additive (thimerosal) from almost all vaccines, the incidence of autism continues to climb.
  • In 2010, the British medical journal The Lancet retracted the paper linking the MMR vaccine to autism, due to the fact that the researchers falsified their data.

The medical community suspects that autism is triggered in genetically susceptible children, but they don't understand the trigger or triggers. It's likely a coincidence that autism symptoms are noticed around the same time immunizations are given, which is typically in the second year of life. The research in this area continues. 

Bottom line: Don't let the fear of autism prevent you from fully immunizing your child!

Is it dangerous to get so many vaccinations at once?

No. Many studies have evaluated the effects of administering combinations of vaccines simultaneously and they have shown that vaccines are equally effective in combination as they are alone. There is a slightly greater risk of having a febrile seizure after being vaccinated with a combined MMR and varicella vaccine versus getting MMR and varicella vaccines separately. However, the risk is slight either way; only 1 in 2,000 children vaccinated have a febrile seizure. 

Remember, the moment babies are born, they are exposed to whole slew of bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. Just eating and drinking results in exposure to bacterial, viral, and fungal antigens. Consider this; a cold exposes a child to 4-10 antigens alone. So an infant with a normal immune system won’t have any difficulty managing the few antigens introduced by vaccination.

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