The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get two dozen vaccinations before age 2. Some parents have worried the rapid pace of vaccinations could overwhelm a baby's immune system and cause lasting damage. Others are concerned about claims of an autism-vaccination link.
Research continues to find no meaningful foundation for those fears — particularly the autism claim, which has been rebutted several times. Now a committee of the Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit that advises the government on health and science issues, has reviewed research regarding traditional and alternative schedules for vaccinations and concluded no health problems were associated with the traditional schedule, which involves providing as many as five vaccines at a time.
On the other hand, the impact of not vaccinating children isn't disputed. Anti-vaccine attitudes are one reason whooping cough and measles have increased in recent years even though vaccines are available for both. We hope the institute's work will reassure parents worried by the claims of anti-vaccination advocates and that more children will be immunized.