New study examines delaying child vaccinations

Dr. Michael Kelley
Dr. Michael Kelley
Dr. Mike Smith
Dr. Mike Smith

Louisville, KY - By Lori Lyle - bio | email
Posted by Sam Schreiber - e-mail

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - There has long been a debate over the safety of vaccinations for babies. A new trend has many parents delaying some vaccines, so as to space them apart from one another. The parents fear that the vaccines could overwhelm the child's immune system or even cause developmental problems.

In the first year of life, babies get six vaccines and as many as 17 shots for full protection. But

However, a new study from the University of Louisville says that delaying vaccinations may be causing more harm than good - if it even helps at all.

And pediatrician Dr. Michael Kelley says parents are often unsure of the benefits as well.

"I have certain parents that pick and choose," Kelley said. "And there are certain ones that the won't do or want to delay."

Delay or even phase out over concerns that they may cause problems with the immune system or brain delays.

The study was headed by Dr. Michael Smith, a specialist in Pediatric Infectious Disease and a professor at the University of Louisville. He is the author of a book titled: "A Complete Idiot's Guide To Vaccinations."

Smith says children may be getting too many vaccines in a short period of time.

"We're seeing to many vaccines at once that could somehow lead to developmental problems," Smith said.

Smith looked at the records of 1,047 children. The children were divided into two groups: those that were vaccinated on time and those that received some late. The groups were then compared based on their performances on 42 neuropsychological tests.

Smith says that there appeared to be no benefit to delaying the vaccinations.

"We found no difference," Smith said. "So whether you got your vaccine on time or not, you had the exact same developmental outcomes."

Tonya Smither, a nurse and mother of three, says that she is glad to hear the findings of the study and hopes parents do not delay vaccinations, leaving their children vulnerable to disease.

"Absolutely," she says. "I think they're much more at risk."

Dr. Smith did say that his research found that spacing out vaccines is not always a good idea if parents don't follow through and go back to the doctor to get the shots, which could leave the child unprotected. And there's also a little extra pain involved for children that are on a spaced out schedule.

The study is published in this week's Journal Pediatrics.

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