Delaying childhood vaccines doesn't benefit a child's development
Parents worried that their babies are getting too many vaccines too soon often opt to space out vaccinations in an alternative schedule. But new research finds that doing so offers no benefit to a child's development.
In fact, delaying vaccines can cause health risks, this WSJ article explains, exposing children to the very illnesses the vaccines are designed to protect against.
The study, appearing online in this week's Pediatrics, analyzed data on more than 1,000 children born between 1993 and 1997. Researchers compared vaccination schedules up to the time they reached a year old, and studied their performance 7 to 10 years later on dozens of neuropsychological tests. Those who got vaccinated at the recommended schedule actually performed better on many of the tests, the researchers found.
While it's true that babies are given more vaccines in their first two years than they were a generation ago, the amount of antigen -- elements of the vaccine that spark the immune response -- have actually decreased, this NPR piece discusses.
Nevertheless, parents are opting for alternative vaccination schedules, or skipping the routine shots entirely. Some 39 percent of parents refused or delayed at least one routine childhood vaccine in 2008, up from 22 percent five years earlier, the CDC found.
The study comes out the same day that the doctor whose research first linked autism to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was stripped of his license. Dr. Andrew Wakefield's controversial paper from a dozen years ago was retracted by the journal the Lancet earlier this year, after igniting a global panic over claims of a link that has been proven not to exist.