Vaccine Schedule Is Safe For Children, Experts Say

Scientists at the Institute of Medicine, IOM, say that there is no evidence that following the recommended vaccine timetable causes problems like autism or asthma in children.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend 24 vaccines by the time a child is two. As many as five vaccines are given per doctors visit. Some parents worry the number of vaccines given can cause reactions like autism, prompting them to choose an alternative schedule which spreads the vaccines out or choosing to give only some vaccines.

Scientists are calling the review of research the most comprehensive review to date. A committee of the Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit that advises the government on health and science issues, reviewed research on traditional and alternative vaccine schedules. The committee consisted of 14 physicians and academics.

Dr. Pauline Thomas, an IOM adviser and a professor at New Jersey Medical School in Newark said, “The message is that the schedule is safe by all existing data,” according to Reuters.

However, even with the conclusion the timetable is safe, the committee still recommends the National Vaccine Program Office to collect reports of problems related to the vaccine schedule from doctors and parents “regularly and systematically,” says Alfred Berg, a committee member and professor of family medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle according to The Wall Street Journal.

US Health officials requested the year-long review of existing studies. The committee’s findings are coming out when several states are having record cases of whooping cough and the nationwide outbreak of the flu.

The IOM panel said studying the health impact of children who get vaccines on the recommended timetable versus those who don’t is too risky and expensive. They say current databases could be enhanced, but they are still the best way to monitor for vaccine safety. Furthermore, they recommend doctors to find a better way to communicate to parents about vaccine safety and concerns.