- Myth: Vaccines cause autism.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) emphasizes that numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing autism.1,2 The study published in the journal Lancet in 1998 with principal author Dr. Andrew Wakefield suggesting that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine might be linked with autism was retracted in 2010 since the findings were false.3 The British General Medical Council in the United Kingdom reported that Wakefield acted unethically and dishonestly in conducting research. This study has sparked unnecessary concerns among parents, and pharmacists should reiterate the robust evidence showing that there is no link between vaccines and autism.
- Myth: Thimerosal is harmful.
- Myth: Children should not receive multiple vaccines at the same time.
Table: 14 Infectious Diseases Prevented by Vaccines
|Haemophilus influenza type B|
Pharmacists can collaborate with pediatricians to educate parents on the importance of childhood vaccines. Provide the CDC’s childhood vaccine chart to parents as an educational tool. Additionally, it is important to educate the new federal commission on immunizations to protect children from serious diseases. Becoming involved in both the state and federal legislative process can help to ensure that vaccine myths are dispelled. The AAP says it best: “Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives.”2
- Edwards KM, Hackell JM. Countering vaccine hesitancy. Pediatrics. 2016;138(3):e20162146.
- American Academy of Pediatrics emphasizes safety and importance of vaccines. AAP website. https://healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/AAP-Emphasizes-Safety-and-Importance-of-Vaccines.aspx. Accessed January 11, 2017.
- Barrett S. Lancet retracts Wakefield paper. Autism Watch website. https://www.autism-watch.org/news/lancet.shtml. Accessed January 11, 2017.
- Vaccines do not cause autism. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html. Accessed January 11, 2017.
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSUâ€™s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriffâ€™s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriffâ€™s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2