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Childhood Vaccines Far Outweigh Risks, Health Experts Say

Apr 28, 2002 | HealthScout

As many as 25 percent of parents worry that the vaccines often mandated for their children to prevent diseases like measles, mumps and polio (news - web sites) may be to blame for other unintended diseases, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Some parents have contended that the shots can cause everything from autism, hepatitis B and diabetes to neurological disorders and an impaired immune system.

That's just not true, health professionals say.

"Basically, there is no data to say there is an association between the vaccines and these diseases," says Dr. Margaret Rennels, a Maryland pediatrician who serves on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

She cites an ongoing, three-year study of all research involving vaccinations and any associations with other diseases, which is being done by the institute, part of the National Academy of Sciences, an independent organization created by the federal government to advise on scientific and technical matters, reports HealthScout News.

So far, the institute has issued three reports that found vaccinations were not linked to: autism; neurodevelopmental disorders, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and delayed speech; juvenile diabetes, pneumonia or meningitis.

The bottom line: The institute stands behind the nation's current vaccination program.

However, the institute, citing a lack of data, does recommend further research into possible ties between vaccines and asthma, and whether certain people are genetically predisposed to respond poorly to certain shots.

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