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Posted by on Jul 22, 2010 in Neurology, Neuropsychiatry, Pediatrics

Fear of Autism Not a Reason to Delay Vaccinations

Fear of Autism Not a Reason to Delay Vaccinations

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Advice for those fearful and fear-mongering parents who space out or delay vaccinations for their children: Don’t.

The “too many, too soon” rant, which is predicated on the convoluted idea that multiple vaccinations overwhelm the immune system and thereby cause autism, has been thoroughly shot down by logical argument and now by a recent study in the journal Pediatrics.

Mining the Vaccine Safety Datalink, physicians at the University of Louisville in Kentucky compared the long-term neuropsychological outcomes of children who received on-time vaccinations during their first year with those who didn’t. The cut-to-the-chase result: children who received timely vaccinations generally performed better and certainly no worse than less vaccinated kids. The study was based on a previous CDC study, which showed no association between exposure to thimerosal, a long-time vaccine preservative containing microgram amounts of ethylmercury, and autism.

At Medscape, CHOP pediatrician Paul Offit (Satan incarnate to antivaccinationists) offers his predictable and correct perspective on the study, saying,

I think parents can be reassured here that a choice to delay vaccines or to not give vaccines does not in any sense decrease the risk of a neurological outcome or autism. All it does is increase the period of time during which children are susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases.

CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CHOP = Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

bmartin (1127 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.