Posts Tagged ‘ vaccine safety ’

Vaccines Cleared–Again–in Autism Risk Debate

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Since a 1998 article published in the medical journal The Lancet argued that childhood vaccines–specifically the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine–can cause autism spectrum disorders (ASD), debate has crested and fallen, ebbed and flowed.  Neither the retraction of the article–partially in 2004 and fully in 2010–nor the failure of any scientist since to replicate author Andrew Wakefield’s findings has dissuaded some who still believe that autism may be caused by vaccines.  In fact, earlier this year a study came out reporting that parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their children–partially or entirely because of the autism fear–are rarely persuaded to change their opinions even in the face of solid scientific evidence that vaccines do not cause autism.

Study after study has been published in the intervening years confirming no link between vaccines and autism.  Meanwhile, amid growing numbers of families who do not have their children vaccinated, outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases are on the rise. This year, measles cases have reached a 20-year high, and whooping cough was declared an epidemic in California.

This week, a new study was published, once again vindicating vaccines of having any causal relationship with autism.  Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study reviewed a large of body of scientific findings and concluded that parents should be reassured about vaccines’ safety.  More from HealthDay News:

The researchers behind the new study also found no link between childhood leukemia and vaccines for MMR, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), tetanus, influenza and hepatitis B.

Overall, vaccines given to children 6 or younger are safe, causing few side effects, the review concluded. The findings are published in the July 1 online edition and the August print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

“We found that the serious adverse effects linked to vaccines are extremely rare,” said lead author Margaret Maglione, a policy analyst at RAND Corporation.

These findings should provide solid support for pediatricians and family physicians in their discussions with parents about the benefits and risks of immunization, said Dr. Carrie Byington, a professor of pediatrics and vice dean of academic affairs and faculty development at the University of Utah College of Medicine.

In an accompanying editorial, Byington noted recent medical school graduates have reported themselves more skeptical of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines than did older graduates.

“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.

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

Image: Child getting vaccine, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment
Back To Parents News Now

Kristin Cavallari Comes Out as Anti-Vaccine

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Kristin Cavallari, a former reality TV star who is expecting her second son, has gone public with her decision to refrain from vaccinating her children, saying she’s “read too many books” about autism and citing “some scary statistics.”  Time.com reports:

Former reality star Kristin Cavallari admitted to not vaccinating her son, and not planning to do so, in a Fox Business interview on Thursday. On Friday, she defended her position on “Fox & Friends,” adding that it was not something she planned to come out publicly on, but it just came up in the interview.

“Listen, to each their own,” Cavallari, pregnant with her second son, said. “I understand both sides of it. I’ve ready too many books about autism and there’s some scary statistics out there. It’s our personal choice, and, you know, if you’re really concerned about your kid get them vaccinated.”

The idea that vaccines cause autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has long been debunked by science, though it persists in part because of celebrities like Cavallari and, more famously, Jenny McCarthy, who perpetuate the link in interviews and public appearances.  Meanwhile, diseases that are preventable through vaccination, like measles and whooping cough, are cropping up again in communities across the country.

A recent study found that efforts to educate the public about the benefits of vaccines are not very effective, especially when parents have already formed negative opinions about the safety of vaccination.

Image: Kristin Cavallari, via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Add a Comment
Back To Parents News Now

Vaccine Education Programs May Not Be Effective

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their children–or who have decided against vaccination–are not likely to be swayed by awareness programs meant to educate parents about the importance of giving kids vaccines against preventible diseases like measles and mumps.  The programs, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics, can actually make parents express more reservations about vaccines. More from Reuters:

The study’s lead author told Reuters Health that the research is an extension of his work in political science that found it is difficult to correct people’s misinformation.

“We found political misinformation is often very difficult to correct and giving people the correct information can backfire,” said Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“We were interested in seeing if the messages public health agencies were putting out were effective,” he said.

Specifically, Nyhan and his colleagues examined public health campaigns about the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Although national U.S. MMR vaccination rates are high, the researchers write in Pediatrics that there are states where the rate dips below 90 percent, which is a commonly used threshold for so-call herd immunity. Herd immunity is the point where high vaccination rates within a population may also offer protection to the unvaccinated.

They also write that maintaining high levels of MMR vaccination is important because of the increasing number of measles cases reported in the U.S. and recent outbreaks in the UK. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can lead to death.

Another study published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers in the same journal found that vaccinating U.S. kids born in 2009 according to the routine immunization schedule will save about $70 billion and prevent over 40,000 early deaths and over 20 million cases of disease.

Image: Vaccine, via Shutterstock

Is your child too sick for school? Bookmark this super-fast quiz for the next time you’re unsure.

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Add a Comment
Back To Parents News Now

Rotavirus Vaccine May Carry Small Risk for Babies

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Babies who receive a vaccine against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea, may face a small risk of a dangerous intestinal blockage, a new study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.  More from NBC News:

But researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the risk is very small and vaccination is still worthwhile. Vaccination “is still very beneficial,” said Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, who worked on one of the two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Before vaccination was introduced in the U.S. in 2006, rotavirus sent about 200,000 children to the emergency room, put 55,000 to 70,000 in the hospital, and killed 20 to 60 children under 5 years old each year. Vaccination has made a dramatic difference, averting 65,000 hospitalizations from 2007 to 2009, according to CDC estimates.

Two rotavirus vaccines are licensed in the U.S., RotaTeq since 2006 and Rotarix since 2008. In 1999, another vaccine, RotaShield, was voluntarily withdrawn a year after it hit the market because of an association with intussusception, the “telescoping” of one segment of intestine inside another. The blockage that results can tear the intestines.

In a five-year study of Rotarix, DeStefano’s team found 5.3 extra cases of intussusception per 100,000 vaccinated infants. Less than one case would be expected per 100,000 unvaccinated infants.

In a seven-year study of RotaTeq, another group of researchers found 1.5 extra cases of intussusception per 100,000 vaccinated infants. Again, less than one case would be expected per 100,000 unvaccinated infants.

“I would call this a relatively small risk,” said Dr. Katherine Yih, a researcher at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, who led the RotaTeq research. “It’s about one-tenth the additional risk of the original vaccine that was recalled in 1999.”

Image: Baby receiving vaccine, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment
Back To Parents News Now

Pregnant Nurse Claims She Was Fired for Refusing Flu Shot

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Dreonna Breton, a Pennsylvania nurse, is alleging that she was fired from her job after refusing a flu shot because of concerns that the vaccine would cause her to suffer a miscarriage.  CNN.com has more on the story, which emerged even as a growing number of states are reporting widespread flu activity to the CDC:

“I’m a healthy person. I take care of my body. For me, the potential risk was not worth it,” Dreonna Breton told CNN Sunday. “I’m not gonna be the one percent of people that has a problem.”

Breton, 29, worked as a nurse at Horizons Healthcare Services in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when she was told that all employees were required to get a flu shot. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention advises that all health care professionals get vaccinated annually.

She told her employers that she would not get the vaccine after she explained that there were very limited studies of the effects on pregnant women.

Breton came to the decision with her family after three miscarriages.

The mother of one submitted letters from her obstetrician and primary care doctor supporting her decision, but she was told that she would be fired on December 17 if she did not receive the vaccine before then.

Horizons Healthcare Services spokesman Alan Peterson told CNN affiliate WPVI that it’s unconscionable for a health care worker not to be immunized and that pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu.

The CDC website states that getting a flu shot while pregnant is the best protection for pregnant women and their babies.

Image: Pregnant woman about to get vaccine, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment
Back To Parents News Now