Many parents are spacing out their children's vaccines; worried that too many at once can be harmful. For some babies, in the first 6 months, there are about 9 injections plus 3 oral vaccines.
So, some parents are delaying the vaccinations, concerned the medicines intended to protect from diseases, may harm brain development.
But a new study suggests there's no reason to worry.
St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Dr. Robert Gottesman says, "In fact, receiving the immunizations probably has the opposite effect. It probably helps your development."
Researchers looked at more than 1,000 children and the vaccines they received up to one year old. They analyzed their performance 7 to 10 years later on tests for language, verbal memory and intellect. The less-vaccinated children did not do significantly better.
In fact, those who received "on time" vaccines did better on many tests.
There have been persistent claims of a link between autism and vaccines, but numerous studies show no connection.
Doctors say delaying vaccines puts children at risk for things like pneumonia, polio and tetanus.
In other health news, a new study out today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General suggests that in 2007, 2.7 million children in 9 states, including Arkansas, did not receive their immunizations or crucial hearing and vision screenings. Legally children are required to get their shots.
But child advocates say many families have trouble getting appointments, because fewer doctors accept Medicaid because of low reimbursement rates.
State health department spokesperson Ann Wright says the Vaccine for Children Program has not decreased in the number of providers giving immunizations, or the number of children being served by the program. She adds, any Medicaid eligible child can receive vaccinations at local health units in every county.
Doctors say regular check ups are especially important for low-income children who are at higher risk for obesity, depression and poor cognitive development.
The studied states are Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.