New research has shown that a common childhood vaccination given to pregnant women does not put their children at any increased risk of autism.
A Kaiser Permanente study published [August 13] in the journal Pediatrics found no association between the prenatal Tdap (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough) vaccine and autism spectrum disorder when looking at tens of thousands of children in the hospital system. It is the latest in a long line of studies showing that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Despite the abundant scientific evidence, a persistent conspiracy theory has misled some parents into fearing vaccines.
The research showed that 569 children (or 1.5 percent) whose mothers received the vaccination were later diagnosed with autism, compared with 772 children (or 1.8 percent) whose mothers did not get the shot. [Researcher Tracy] Becerra-Culqui said in an email that after taking into account other differences between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, “there was no association found between the Tdap vaccine received during pregnancy and autism in children.”
Saad Omer, a professor of global health, epidemiology and pediatrics at Emory University, said the study was comprehensive and well-designed.
The results, he said, are “not surprising” but “very reassuring.”
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