PASADENA, Calif. (WHDH) — A recent study found that the prenatal Tdap vaccination does not increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder in children.
Kaiser Permanente studying more than 80,000 children born over a four-period learned that 1.5 percent of infants were diagnosed with autism after their mother received the vaccine, while 1.8 percent of babies were diagnosed after their mother went unvaccinated.
Analyses of electronic health records showed that receiving the vaccine during pregnancy was not associated with increased autism in children, according to the study.
Expecting mothers have been hesitant in the past to get the Tdap vaccine, which helps prevent tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, due to the alleged autism risk. However, researchers say this connection has been refuted by many rigorous scientific investigations.
“Pregnant women can be reassured by this study that there is no indication of an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children after being exposed prenatally to the Tdap vaccine,” said Tracy A. Becerra-Culqui, PhD, a post-doctoral research fellow with Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research & Evaluation and lead author of the study.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which provides guidance on the use of vaccines for the United States, recommends pregnant women receive the Tdap vaccine to prevent pertussis infection.
“Infants are at the highest risk of hospitalization and death among any population subgroup after contracting a pertussis infection, a highly contagious respiratory disease also known as the whooping cough,” Becerra-Culqui said. “With waning immunity against pertussis in the United States, it has become very important for pregnant women to be immunized against pertussis. It is an immunity they pass on to their unborn baby.”
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