The most comprehensive study to date on the childhood immunization schedule finds that there is no evidence that it is unsafe, or linked to any kind of developmental disorders such as autism.
It's been scientific fact, for some time now, that vaccines are safe, and that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Even after the controversial study which linked the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism was not only discredited, but ruled unethical, Playmate-turned-pseudo-scientist Jenny McCarthy pressed on with her crusade to "inform" parents of the dangers of childhood vaccines. Instead of backtracking on her claims—that had been scientifically disproved—her autism awareness organization Generation Rescue focused on "warning" parents about crowded, CDC-recommended childhood vaccination schedule.
It's true that the amount of immunizations for babies seems excessive to parents who aren't medically trained. They receive 24 vaccines in as many months, and sometimes will get four or five shots per doctor's visit. But the vaccines protect against sometimes deadly conditions like diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia, and diarrhea. The schedule was created to reflect when children become vulnerable to infections, and when their immune systems are developed enough to respond to the vaccines.
Some parents—who, again, are not medically trained—elect to opt out of these vaccines, based on the hysteria caused by groups like Generation Rescue. The result? The worst whooping cough epidemic in five decades that has actually claimed the lives of infants.
The new report on the vaccine schedule from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), found that the schedule is not only totally safe, but important:
The committee's efforts to identify priorities for recommended research studies did not reveal an evidence base suggesting that the childhood immunization schedule is linked to autoimmune diseases, asthma, hypersensitivity, seizures, child developmental disorders, learning disorders or developmental disorders, or attention deficit or disruptive behavior disorders.
[R]ather than exposing children to harm, following the complete childhood immunization schedule is strongly associated with reducing vaccine-preventable diseases.
Jenny McCarthy has not yet commented about this on her Twitter account. (But apparently she'll be hanging out with Snooki soon.)
Childhood Vaccine Schedule Safe, IOM Says [ABC News]