New study: many vaccines at once OK for kids

24 May

A new study from Pediatrics has come to the conclusion that:

Timely vaccination during infancy has no adverse effect on neuropsychological outcomes 7 to 10 years later. These data may reassure parents who are concerned that children receive too many vaccines too soon

Lead researcher Michael J. Smith said:

Our study shows that there is only a downside to delaying vaccines, and that is an increased susceptibility to potentially deadly infectious diseases,

We hope these findings will encourage more parents to vaccinate according to the American Academy of Pediatrics schedule, and reassure them that they’re making a safe choice when they do so.

Lets hope so. Today is a great day in the forward momentum of the confidence in vaccines now that Andrew Wakefield has been struck off and this latest study can only add yet more weight that no vaccine, no vaccine ingredient and no vaccine schedule has _ever_ been shown to cause autism either directly or indirectly.

This is the first time that a study such as this has been carried out:

…nobody had studied whether getting several vaccinations in a short time could have negative consequences, for instance by overloading the immune system, as many parents believe, according to Smith. He found that receiving as many as 10 different shots — including flu and whooping cough — had no impact.

And a CDC spokesman said:

Parents that are considering delaying vaccination should realize that there aren’t any specific benefits, and that they are putting their child at risk, and not only their child but also the community,

An excellent point. The benefits of vaccination are not just personal but societal. Those who refuse to vaccinate not only risk the personal well being of their children but the society they choose to live in.

18 Responses to “New study: many vaccines at once OK for kids”

  1. Sullivan May 24, 2010 at 15:41 #

    “too many, too soon”, struck off the supportable slogan register.

  2. Kev May 24, 2010 at 16:24 #

    Very good 😉

  3. Science Mom May 24, 2010 at 19:27 #

    We can’t celebrate yet; the investigators used the same cohort of children used for the previous study of neurophysiological outcomes 7-10 years after. So children born between 1993-1997 and also looked at vaccines received up to 7 months old. Their unvaccinated group also contained only 9 children. PCV, rotavirus, varicella and MMR were not accounted for. Good news, but with caveats.

  4. Joseph May 24, 2010 at 23:24 #

    Seems close to what Prometheus suggested, as I recall. That is, since it’s difficult to find very many completely non-vaccinated children, you do a retrospective dose-response study instead.

  5. Riayn May 25, 2010 at 05:41 #

    It would be highly unethical to select one group of children not to receive vaccinations whilst you select another group of children to receive vaccinations. Therefore we can only do retrospective studies as Joseph above stated.

    However, the anti-vax movement may have one small benefit and that is giving researchers a current pool of non-vaccinated children to study and compare to children who have undergone the recent vaccination schedule.

  6. jr May 25, 2010 at 15:57 #

    I’m not 100%, but I believe this link gives a list of the neuropsychological outcomes studied with this data set, along with exclusionary codes.


    I would think a complete review would also have to look at other types of outcomes, especially those related to immune system functions, allergies, vaccine effectiveness, ?. Encephalitis is listed as an exclusionary code. This study was done around the same time as the study that found an association between brain inflammation and autism. Could some relevant subjects been excluded?

  7. livsparents May 27, 2010 at 02:03 #

    I’m having some real troubles with the title that Reuters gave this article:
    “Many vaccines at once OK for kids’ brains: Study”

    The study really doesn’t study nor conclude what the article’s title states. The actual quote is:
    “He found that receiving as many as 10 different shots—including flu and whooping cough—had no impact.”

    The 10 vaccines are over the 7 month period that is standard in the schedule. No where do they even mention multi-vaccines in a single visit, nor do I think that within a sub-1000 data set would they likely be able to claim more than a handful of incidents. They simply concluded that following the recommended vaccine schedule vs stretching the schedule out had no benefit from a neurological standpoint (indeed, the standard schedule had a slight positive outcome).

    I just really have problems with journalists (probably more their editors) who put misleading titles to summarize and sometimes entice readers. Quick reads of the article itself also do not make the misstated title readily apparent. This lends itself to having laypeople and lazy medical professionals proclaim that the issue has been studied and resolved, when in fact it has not.

  8. Trevor de Koekkoek June 2, 2010 at 03:06 #

    Yeah, great study. Exclude children with meningitis and encephalitis and many other conditions and somehow conclude that your study shows that brain function is not affected. Oh and over 70 percent of the cohort had the full set of vaccines. Where is your control group? This is pseudo-science, tobacco science at it’s best.

  9. Kev June 2, 2010 at 08:05 #

    Hardly Trevor, its simply a starting point. More refined studies will come.

  10. Trevor de Koekkoek June 2, 2010 at 12:02 #

    Hardly what? How can you have a starting point from a study that is clearly flawed? You haven’t addressed the problems I raised with the study. How can you exclude children with swelling of the brain in a study meant to show that there is no affect on the brain? Never mind the conflict of interest of those who performed the study.

  11. Kev June 2, 2010 at 12:29 #

    Well, we simply disagree then Trevor. I think its a useful starting point with provisos. You don’t.

  12. Trevor de Koekkoek June 2, 2010 at 12:39 #

    Kev: Disagreement is fine. I have no problem with that. However you don’t address the points I make about the study.

    • Kev June 2, 2010 at 12:42 #

      I’ve just emailed the lead author Trevor. Lets see if I get a response. I’m sure he’ll be much clearer that me.

  13. Luna_the_cat June 2, 2010 at 16:17 #

    The study for the original NEJM paper: “Children were excluded if they had certain conditions recorded in their medical records that could bias neuropsychological testing (e.g., encephalitis, meningitis, or hydrocephalus) or if their birth weight was less than 2500 g …”. I gather this is the basis of Trevor’s complaint, given that this paper uses the same cohort.

    First, the assessment is on language development and other markers of neurological function; and these conditions are KNOWN to impact language development and neurological function. They are also KNOWN to be caused by many different illnesses and circumstances. They are therefore what are called “confounders” — in other words, keeping kids in the study which you know will score low but who are doing so because of *other* conditions, obscure what you are trying to find rather than help illuminate anything.

    This NEJM paper, and the paper discussed above, are looking for neurological performance **all other things being equal**, also controlling for scioeconomic status, parental health, things like that — because the whole point is to determine if either thimerosal exposure or vaccines on the standard schedule are causing some neurological insult, the way anti-vaxxers specifically claim. I have seen the anti-vaccination claim that children suffer undiagnosed neurological insult from “too many too soon”, or thimerosal exposure, and this is what this looks at, specifically. One claim, one test.

    A separate study would be to test whether low birth weight, encephalitis and/or meningitis occur in proportional or disproportional numbers of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated or less vaccinated kids. That is a separate assessment because there you are examining specifically diagnosable conditions known to have neurological impacts, as opposed to general “develiopmental delay” or “impaired neurological function”, and they also have a multiplicity of possible causes and their own confounding questions –and scientific studies need to control what they examine to the point that it is possible to separate out real effects from the multivariable noise of the general population. As it happens, mind you, separate studies HAVE been done on whether, for example, there is a correlation between rates of meningitis and vaccination– and the unvaccinated or less vaccinated children in fact have higher rates of meningitis because (unsurprisingly) meningitis is a complication of many of the illnesses that vaccines protect against. So including these in this analysis wouldn’t have supported any case against vaccines anyway.

  14. Dedj June 2, 2010 at 17:46 #

    “Exclude children with meningitis and encephalitis and many other conditions and somehow conclude that your study shows that brain function is not affected.”

    So, discount people that have other reasons for affected brain function, then measure the rest to see who has brain function that could only have been affected by the vaccines?

    Why does that not sound reasonable?

    “Oh and over 70 percent of the cohort had the full set of vaccines.”

    Yes, and the ones that did have them, and who had them on time, outperformed the rest on a sizable number of tests. The opposite result that one would expect if vaccines endemically or universally affected brain function.

    How is this a problem?

    “Where is your control group?”

    Read the study.

    “You haven’t addressed the problems I raised with the study.”

    Kev is would be under no obligation to address your points, even if you did make them. However, you have raised no problems with the study, but have instead made a series of observations , at least one of which you should have known to be wrong had you read and understood the study.

    So, basically, you’re demanding that people make your arguement for you, and then rebut it. Get off your arse and do it yourself you lazy fuck.

  15. Kev June 3, 2010 at 08:30 #

    Comment from the study author here

  16. Dedj June 3, 2010 at 16:18 #

    Sorry for the spelling and grammer in the previous post, I was a bit rushed, and – as several people have noted – I may have dsylexic tendancies.

    The swearing, however, was justly deserved, although I do apologise to any third party that may have been affected by it.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - New study: many vaccines at once OK for kids « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - May 25, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, Catherina+ScienceMom. Catherina+ScienceMom said: RT @kevleitch Autism Blog – New study: many vaccines at once OK for kids « Left Brain/Right Brain […]

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