Journal of Pediatrics
Vol 163 | No. 2 | August 2013 | Pages 309-612
No association between the number of vaccine antigens and risk of autism spectrum disorder
Sarah S. Long, MD
Many well-meaning parents have unfounded fears that their young children are exposed to too much immunologic stimulation through vaccines. Some then take real risks of underimmunizing their children or insisting on schedules that are unstudied for efficacy or safety. In this issue of The Journal, DeStefano et al performed a secondary analysis of the robust database from a case-control study evaluating potential risks of thimerosal exposure from vaccines. They sought to test the hypothesis that increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines was associated with risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They repeatedly found aORs of 0.999 (with narrow CIs) for association of ASD diagnosed by 6-13 years of age with incremental increases in total antigens received, as well as with decreasing ages at receipt. The authors also found no association between the maximum number of antigens that a child was exposed to on a single day and ASD.