Thursday, April 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox) are very effective and do not cause autism, say researchers who reviewed 138 studies involving 23 million children.
“In terms of safety, we know from previous research around the world that the risk posed by this disease is far greater than the risk of vaccines given to prevent it,” said lead author Dr. Carlo Di Pietrantonj. “In this review, we want to see evidence for specific losses that have been linked to this vaccine in public debate – often without strong scientific evidence as a basis.”
Infectious diseases can cause serious illness, disability, and death. Measles is the leading cause of child death worldwide. Rubella poses a serious risk in pregnancy because it can cause miscarriage or harm the fetus.
MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) protects against all three infections. There are also combined MMR and varicella (MMRV) vaccines, or chickenpox vaccine can be given separately at the same time (MMR + V).
The new study was published April 20 in Cochrane Reviews.
“Overall we think that the available evidence about the safety and effectiveness of the MMR / MMRV / MMR + V vaccine supports its use for mass immunization,” Di Pietrantonj said in a Cochrane news release. He is with the Italian Regional Epidemiology Unit at SeREMI.
For the new study, researchers reviewed 51 studies of 10 million children who assessed the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine and chicken pox, and 87 studies of 13 million children who assessed the risks posed by vaccines.
One dose of the vaccine is 95% effective in preventing measles, rising to 96% after two doses. The case rate in children who received one dose was 0.5%, compared to 7% in children who were not vaccinated.
One dose of the vaccine is 72% effective in preventing mumps, rising to 86% after two doses. The case rate in children with two doses is 1%, compared to 7.4% in children who are not vaccinated.
Results for rubella and chicken pox are also encouraging. One dose of the vaccine is 89% effective in preventing rubella. One study found that after 10 years, the MMRV vaccine was 95% effective at preventing chickenpox infection. If you have chickenpox, five out of 100 vaccinated children will get it.
In addition, the researchers analyzed two studies with nearly 1.2 million children who examined the relationship between vaccination and autism. Cases of autism diagnosed are similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
Two other studies with more than 1 million children found no evidence of an association between the MMR vaccine and the following diseases and conditions: encephalitis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, cognitive delay, type 1 diabetes, asthma, dermatitis / eczema, dengue fever, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, gait disturbance, and bacterial or viral infections.
“Campaigns aimed at global eradication must assess the country’s epidemiological and socioeconomic situation as well as the capacity to achieve high vaccination coverage. More evidence is needed to assess whether the protective effect of MMR / MMRV can be reduced with time since immunization,” Di Pietrantonj said.
U.S. Disease Control and Prevention Center have more about vaccines and immunizations.
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