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Childhood Vaccine Schedule Is Safe, Report Says
Date:1/16/2013

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The standard vaccine schedule for young children in the United States is safe and effective, a new review says.

The report, issued Wednesday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the first to look at the entire vaccine schedule as opposed to just individual vaccines. The current vaccine schedule entails 24 vaccines given before the age of 2, averaging one to five shots during a single doctor visit.

"The committee found no evidence that the childhood immunization schedule is not safe," said Ada Sue Hinshaw, chair of the committee that produced the report and dean of the Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.

"The evidence repeatedly points to the health benefits of the schedule, including preventing children and their communities from life-threatening diseases," added Hinshaw, who spoke at a Wednesday news conference to introduce the report.

The series of vaccines are designed to protect against a range of diseases, including measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, meningitis and hepatitis.

However, some expressed reservations about the report.

"The IOM Committee has done a good job outlining core parental concerns about the safety of the U.S. child vaccine schedule and identifying the large knowledge gaps that cause parents to continue to ask doctors questions they can't answer," said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a nonprofit organization "advocating for the institution of vaccine safety and informed consent protections in the public health system."

But, she added, "The most shocking part of this report is that the committee could only identify fewer than 40 studies published in the past 10 yea
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