Autistic children and their siblings less likely to be vaccinated

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Occupational therapist Steve Chan (left) and six-year-old Sasa Lao. Image credit: Dickson Lee

Children with autism spectrum disorder are significantly less likely to be fully vaccinated than children unaffected by autism, new research finds. And the same is true of their younger sisters and brothers.

The study was published [March 26] in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by challenges with social skills, communication and repetitive behaviors. The cause of autism spectrum disorder is unknown, though research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors play a role.

Scientific studies also report no association between vaccines and autism, although many parents fear such a connection.

“What we found is that there are large disparities in vaccination rates between children with and without” autism spectrum disorders, [researcher Ousseny] Zerbo said. Comparing the two groups of children, “we found that 80% of children with autism received all vaccines recommended for children between ages 4 and 6, versus 94% among children without autism,” he said.

Related article:  Scientists create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic bottles for lunch

“Fears about an autism-vaccine link persist and contribute to growing numbers of unvaccinated or undervaccinated children,” said Goin-Kochel, who was not involved in the new study. “In turn, this has resulted in — and will continue to result in — increases in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”What the study shows is how perception drives behavior “in a way that significantly influences public-health safety,” she said.

Read full, original post: Children with autism less likely to be fully vaccinated, study finds

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