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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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Childhood Vaccines Vindicated Once More

No link to autism found in large review of previous research on measles, mumps, rubella vaccine


"I'm hopeful younger physicians who have not seen the devastating vaccine preventable infections may see the data and strengthen their will to communicate the importance of vaccines to parents," Byington said.

Doctors struggle to maintain a vaccination rate high enough to prevent outbreaks, researchers said in background material. Parents refusing to have their children vaccinated has contributed to recent outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough.

"Should more and more people choose not to vaccinate their children, we're going to see more and more stories like these," Gidengil said.

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality hired RAND Corporation to review the safety of vaccines recommended for children, adolescents, adults and pregnant women.

In their study, the researchers reported their findings on vaccines for children 6 and under, based on a systematic review of 67 previous studies. The researchers also included information from the more than 1,000 studies in a previous review done by the Institute of Medicine in 2011.

Although they found no link between vaccines and autism or leukemia, they did find some very rare links between certain vaccines and children's health problems.

For example, the rotavirus vaccine is associated with an increased risk of intussusception, a serious disorder in which part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part of the intestine, causing blockage of the bowels.

"The rate is about one in 100,000 to five in 100,000, so it is extremely rare," Maglione said of the rotavirus link. Rotavirus is a common cause of sometimes severe gastrointestinal infections in babies and young children.

The evidence also indicated a link between MMR vaccine and febrile seizures, which are convulsions brought on by a fever in infants and small children.

Gidengil noted that illnesses and viruses also can cause the type of high fever that results in febrile seizures. She added that these seizures are generally harmless, a view supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"They can be frightening for parents to witness, but there's no evidence that it causes long-term brain damage," she said.

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