VACCINE UPDATE: WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER

1. Immunizations and Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects 1 in approximately 170 children. It effects a child’s communication, social relationships and interactions. There appears to be both a genetic and environmental component to the cause of autism.

A study in the late 1970’s, showed that autism was linked with the administration of the MMR vaccine at one year of age. As a result, several large studies have attempted to confirm this, but have not been able to prove any association between the MMR and autism. However there continues to be a lot of concern about the preservatives used in vaccines ( thimerosol) and its possible link to autistic symptoms.

Thimerosal is ethyl mercury was used for years as a preservative in vaccines to prevent infections at the site of the injection. No studies exist that definitively link autism and thimerosal. However, because of a possible association with developmental delay, the vaccine manufacturers made the decision to take this substance out of vaccines over 5 years you’re your doctor should be able to show you the list of manufacturers they buy vaccines from and the report that shows the level, if any of thimerosol in the vials. Most vaccines used in pediatric offices are thimerosol free, and some office can order certain vaccines completely preservative free, such as the flu vaccine.

2. Changes in Immunization recommendations

1) Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A, as opposed to Hepatitis B can be contracted not only while traveling but even at home. Usually through contaminated foods. Therefore, children are now encouraged to get this vaccine as early as age 1 year. There are two doses that are 6-18 months apart.

2) Meningitis vaccine: Menactra vaccine is given to protect your preteen and adolescent from life-threatening meningitis which, even if not fatal, may result in chronic disabilities. I urge you to get your child vaccinated. It is one dose at 11-12 years old. Older teenagers who missed it should also get the vaccine, and it is required by most camps and colleges.

3) Chicken pox vaccine ( varicella) The 2007 Immunization Recommendations now advise a second dose to boost your child’s protection, unless he/she has had the chickenpox. Most children receive their first dose at age 1 but now the recommendation is for a second dose for children over four.

4) Tdap. (Adacel) Eevry child gets a tetanus booster when entering junior high school but the new teteanus booster also includes a pertussis (whooping cough) booster as well.

5) Human Papilloma Virus (Gardasil) is a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. This vaccine is the only vaccine that prevents a type of cancer caused by a virus that most women are exposed to during their lifetime. Only some of the strains of the virus cause cervical cancer, and the gardisil vaccine is targeted against those strains. It is recommended for all females between the ages of 9 and 26. There are three doses spaced six months apart.

Natalie Geary