Autism risk isn’t increased by the use of recommended childhood vaccines, U.S. health officials found in a study addressing parent concerns that too many immunizations may cause the disorder.
An analysis of 1,000 toddlers showed no differences in exposures to vaccines between autistic and normally-developing children, according to findings published in the Journal of Pediatrics by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The CDC recommends 10 immunizations before age 2, and some require more than one shot.
Multiple studies have shown measles, mumps and rubella vaccines don’t individually cause autism. A third of parents surveyed in a previous report were concerned too many vaccines given before age 2, or on the same visit, may be a contributor. About 1 in 10 toddler parents refuse or delay vaccinations because they believe the schedule to be unsafe, the study said.
“This is a very important and reassuring study,” said Geri Dawson, the chief scientific officer of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization, in a telephone interview. She wasn’t involved in the study. “It’s going to be very helpful in addressing some of the concerns parents have had about vaccination schedules.”
The research compared data taken from managed-care groups for 256 children with autism and 752 without. It found no differences in the amount of antigens the kids were exposed to in the first 2 years of life. It also found no support for the idea that too many vaccines on one doctor’s visit might increase the risk of autism.