IOM confirms safety of childhood vaccine schedule

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Despite scientific evidence and confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that childhood vaccines help rather than hurt, some parents still harbor doubts about immunizing their kids. A recent study from the Institute of Medicine further underscores the safety of the federal childhood immunization schedule

The 14 committee members who looked into the issue acknowledged that vaccines carry some risks — like any medication or intervention — but found that the benefits outweigh those concerns.

“In this most comprehensive examination of the immunization schedule to date, the IOM committee uncovered no evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the childhood immunization schedule, which should help to reassure a diverse group of stakeholders,” the report says. “Indeed, rather than exposing children to harm, following the complete childhood immunization schedule is strongly associated with reducing vaccine-preventable diseases.”

The report, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), addressed the childhood immunization schedule established for children 6 and younger by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The schedule is designed to protect against 14 pathogens.

Although about 90 percent of children receive most of the recommended vaccines by the time they enter kindergarten, the remaining 10 percent either receive vaccines on an alternate schedule or do not receive any vaccinations at all.

In that latter group, parental concerns about vaccination and potential side effects are driven largely by the number of immunizations required in the first years of life.

The childhood immunization scheduleClick here


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