Health

Large Study Confirms That Childhood Vaccinations Are Safe

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A sweeping review of 67 recent scientific studies on childhood vaccinations found that adverse side effects are extremely rare.

As preventable diseases like whooping cough, measles and mumps are making a comeback, scientists are hoping the review will set parents at ease about vaccinating their kids.

"This report should give parents some reassurance," study co-author and pediatrician Courtney Gidengil of Rand and Boston Children's Hospital said.

At least 539 people in 20 states have contracted measles this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Researchers confirmed there is no link between measles vaccination and autism, according to the review of the literature published Tuesday in the journal "Pediatrics."

"There is a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines," study 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."

Maglione said serious side effects from vaccines are “extremely rare” and should be weighed against the benefits of vaccinating.

Vaccinations for infants and young children in the last two decades will prevent 322 million illness, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of a lifetime, according to an April CDC report.

"The most dangerous aspect of giving your child vaccines is driving to the office to get them," pediatrician Paul Offit, chief of infectious disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told USA Today.

The study also notes that flu shots combined with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination can increase the risk of seizure in small children, but that the vast majority of their cases are benign and cause no long term damage.

Sources: USA Today, ThinkProgress