With young children receiving twice as many vaccines as they did 25 years ago, many parents are seeking to postpone at least some shots. A new study, though, finds no benefit to a child’s development in delaying vaccines, and doctors warn that waiting can expose kids to possible disease.
One of the researchers, Michael J. Smith, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, says some parents request alternative immunization schedules out of concern that getting so many vaccines in such a short time period might lead to health problems later on.
Dr. Smith and Charles R. Woods, also a pediatric infectious-disease specialist, looked at results of intelligence, speech and behavior tests conducted on children several years after receiving their infant vaccines and found few differences between children who were vaccinated on schedule and those who waited. “This study suggests that delaying vaccines does not give infants any advantage in terms of brain development,” Dr. Smith said. Published online Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics, the study is believed to be the first to address the issue of delayed vaccination.