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Children with Autism Less Likely to Be Vaccinated

JAMA Pediatr; ePub 2018 Mar 26; Zerbo, et al

Children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder are less likely to receive all their recommended vaccines, suggesting that parents are refusing to continue to allow their children to be vaccinated for fear that the vaccines have contributed to the autism. Study findings include:

  • Among 3,729 children with autism, the likelihood of receiving recommended vaccines for ages 4 to 6 years was significantly smaller, when compared to vaccination rates among more than 592,000 children without the disorder (adjusted rate ratio: 0.87).
  • The retrospective analysis was conducted at 6 integrated healthcare US systems and drawn from data in the Vaccine Safety Datalink.
  • The younger siblings of children with autism were also less likely to receive the full complement of vaccines.
  • Parents of a child with autism were more inclined to refuse at least 1 recommended vaccine for younger siblings.
  • Based on these data, researchers concluded that children with autism and their siblings are at increased risk of vaccine-preventable infections.


Zerbo O, Modaressi S, Goddard K, et al. Vaccination patterns in children after autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and in their younger siblings. [Published online ahead of print March 26, 2018]. JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0082.