A new study debunks myths that the current vaccine schedule is linked to autism.
It’s Autism Awareness Day, and just in time for this year’s event comes a new study that has some parents scratching their heads and others breathing a sigh of relief.
A new Journal of Pediatrics study says that children are not at an increased risk of autism if they receive the full schedule of vaccinations in a day or during the first two years of life, according to CNN.
Some parents have been delaying or scrapping vaccines out of fear the vaccines could contribute to the risk of autism.
Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, led the research. The team assembled data on 256 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 752 children without the condition, all of which were born between 1994 and 1999.
The researchers counted how many vaccines a child was given and noted how many antigens within the vaccines children were exposed to over three different time periods: birth to 3 months, birth to 7 months and during the first two years. They calculated the maximum number of antigens a child would receive over the course of a single day.
“When we compared those roughly 250 children with ASD and the roughly 750 children who did not have ASD, we found their antigen exposure, however measured, were the same,” said DeStefano. “There was no association between antigenic exposure and the development of autism.”
That’s good news to help solidify the ongoing battle that vaccines can lead to autism.
“The concern around vaccines has been a very significant issue. Many parents are now deciding to wait or space out vaccines. There has been a concern that when parents are worried about whether vaccines are associated with autism that they are going to choose not to vaccinate their child,” Geraldine Dawson, the chief science officer for Autism Speaks, told TIME.
“That’s one of the reasons we see this as very good news, because we hope this will reassure parents that the number of vaccines your child received during the first couple years of life is not associated with a risk in developing autism,” she added.