Vaccination schedule for children is safe, study says

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 9:05 a.m. MST

Just as the recommended immunization schedule in the U.S. for 2013 for children and adolescents was released on Jan. 28, a recent national study has found that the schedule for children and adolescents is safe and has helped to lower the incidence of many serious illnesses.

"Vaccines are among the most effective and safe public health interventions to prevent serious disease and death," said the report from the Institute of Medicine, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Because of the success of vaccines, most Americans have no firsthand experience with such devastating illnesses as polio or diphtheria."

About 90 percent of children in the country receive the majority of age-appropriate vaccines suggested by the schedule by the time they being kindergarten, said the report.

"I think the issue of vaccine safety is complex and has long history of misinformation and unsubstantiated information," said Gary Freed, of the University of Michigan Health System. Freed said the new report is "thorough and well-done, and reached rational conclusions," according to the Tribune article on the report.

"It has been a danger that people from celebrities to pseudo-scientists disseminate information that's just plain wrong. As a result, some parents have not immunized their children because they have been scared from incorrect information about vaccine safety," he said.

That can be especially true during the winter, the time when the report came out, because many parents and health activists say that vaccines can cause health problems for kids, according to the Tribune. However, many of these concerns were addressed by the research of data on vaccination safety.

"We could not find evidence that the complete schedule is unsafe. We looked at chronic conditions," which include allergies, lupus, asthma and autism, "and found no evidence for a relationship between them and the complete composite schedule," said Dr. Paul Greenberger of Northwestern University and an author of the report.

The most notable change to the vaccination schedule in the 2013 version is that what had been two schedules — for ages 0 to 6 and 7 to 18 — has been consolidated into "one comprehensive list, covering children from birth through age 18," according to CNN Health.

Whooping cough shots are also now recommended for pregnant adolescent women during the last half of their pregnancy.

The rationale behind this recommendation is to vaccinate women near their time of delivery to boost immunity which then passes through the placenta and gets into the baby, so the baby will have its mother's immunity until it can develop its own," said the CNN article.

Mandy Morgan is an intern for the Deseret News, reporting on issues surrounding both family and values in the media. She is a true-blue Aggie, studying Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University, and hails from Highland, Utah.

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