A new analysis has determined that serious complications related to vaccines are very rare, and that there’s no evidence that immunizations cause autism.
Sixty-seven research studies analyzed by researchers is now dispelling the popular myth which was started in 1998 because of a medical study that was later retracted. Despite that, the myth has persisted over the last 16 years.
"There is a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines," says co-author Margaret Maglione, also a researcher with Rand. "With the rise of the Internet and the decline of print journalism, anyone can put anything on the Internet."
All drugs, including vaccines can cause serious side effects. But Maglione says those complications are "extremely rare" and should be weighed against vaccination's enormous benefits.
The new report published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, notes that some vaccines, including flu shots and the combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, are associated with an increased risk of fever-related seizures in small children. Although these seizures can be frightening for parents, they're typically benign and cause no long-term problems, according to experts.
In an April report, the Center for Disease Control noted that vaccines given to infants and young children over the past two decades will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
The new analysis may not convince parents who are adamantly anti-vaccines, however, researchers hope it will persuade doctors to promote vaccines to their patients. Some cite that children are in more danger of getting into a car accident when parents are taking them to the doctor’s office than the vaccine itself.
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