Dec 4, 2015

What does the latest vaccine news means for parents?

You may have seen in the news this week that the major British medical journal The Lancet has fully retracted from the medical record a controversial 1998 paper that proposed a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders. The 1998 report led a number of parents to decide not to immunize their children against MMR.

About the retraction, The Lancet said it was “because it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al., are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation. In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were ‘consecutively referred’ and that investigations were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false.”

What does the retraction mean for parents? It means that, as before, you should continue to get your children immunized against contagious diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis and yes, the flu . Since these routine vaccinations became available, the number of children with these potentially deadly diseases has declined dramatically and epidemics of these diseases have virtually disappeared.

Children’s head of infectious disease Dr. Jeffrey Kahn had this to say: “Hopefully, the retraction by The Lancet will finally put to rest the notion that vaccines are somehow associated with autism. Vaccines are the safest and most effective means to protect children against many severe and often life-threatening illnesses.”