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Institute of Medicine report details for monitoring safety of childhood immunization schedule
Date:1/16/2013

ANN ARBOR -- A review of the available evidence underscores the safety of the federal childhood immunization schedule, according to a report released today by the Institute of Medicine. University of Michigan population ecologist Pejman Rohani served on the 13-person committee that wrote the report.

Roughly 90 percent of American children receive most childhood vaccines advised by the federal immunization schedule by the time they enter kindergarten, the committee noted. However, some parents choose to spread out their children's immunizations over a different time frame than recommended by the schedule, and a small fraction object to having their children immunized at all.

Their concerns arise in part from the number of doses that children receive. The schedule entails 24 immunizations by age 2, given in amounts ranging from one to five injections during a pediatric visit.

"We reviewed the available data and concur with studies that have repeatedly shown the health benefits associated with the recommended schedule, including fewer illnesses, deaths and hospital stays," said Rohani, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, a professor of complex systems and a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health.

"Every new vaccine is tested for safety and evaluated in the context of the entire schedule before it is added. And the systems designed to detect possible harmful effects of immunization have worked well at discovering occasional problems with individual vaccines."

Until newer and bigger data collection systems can be harnessed, the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) is the best available tool for exploring questions about the immunization schedule should the need arise, the committee concluded. This database contains information on the immunization histories of more than 9 million people covered by nine participating managed care organizations.

Researchers can identify individuals who were vaccinated according to alterna
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Contact: Jim Erickson
ericksn@umich.edu
734-647-1842
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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