Tdap Vaccine Given To Pregnant Women Did Not Increase Risk Of Autism In Children, Study Says

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New research has shown that a common childhood vaccination given to pregnant women does not put their children at any increased risk of autism.

A Kaiser Permanente study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found no association between the prenatal Tdap (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough) vaccine and autism spectrum disorder when looking at tens of thousands of children in the hospital system. It is the latest in a long line of studies showing that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Despite the abundant scientific evidence, a persistent conspiracy theory has misled some parents into fearing vaccines.

“If any woman had any hesitancy, she can be reassured,” Tracy Becerra-Culqui, lead author and postdoctoral research fellow with Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research and Evaluation, told The Washington Post. When not vaccinated, she said, “the risk of getting whooping cough is greater than any perceived risk of harm to the baby, so it should be a no-brainer to accept the vaccine.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse-Midwives encourage expectant mothers to get the Tdap vaccine in the third trimester of pregnancy to protect babies from bacterial infections that can be fatal for infants.

“Any woman who is pregnant may be concerned with any exposure inside or outside the health-care system,” Becerra-Culqui said, noting that some women who are encouraged by their doctors to get the Tdap vaccine may worry about it causing harm to their unborn babies. “We wanted to get ahead of any concern – the prevailing concern being, ‘Will my child develop some disease like autism?’ ”

Childhood vaccinations – and vaccines in general – have been a controversial topic since 1998, when conspiracy theorist Andrew Wakefield published a fraudulent research paper purporting a connection between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Though the British doctor and his research have been repeatedly discredited, the idea triggered inextinguishable worry among some parents who still opt not to get their children immunized.

As The Washington Post previously reported, although most parents in the United States vaccinate their children, “vaccine skepticism and outright refusal in recent years have led to places where there are communities of undervaccinated children who are more susceptible to disease and pose health risks to the broader public.”

Using electronic medical records from Kaiser Permanente Southern California hospitals, the researchers studied more than 80,000 children from a four-year period to determine whether there were more instances of autism among those whose mothers had been vaccinated during pregnancy.

The research showed that 569 (or 1.5 percent) children whose mothers received the vaccination were later diagnosed with autism, compared with 772 (or 1.8 percent) children whose mothers did not get the shot. Becerra-Culqui said in an email that after taking into account other differences between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, “there was no association found between the Tdap vaccine received during pregnancy and autism in children.”

Medical experts agree that vaccinations are needed – even before children are born – to protect the infants.

Texas pediatrician Jason Terk said that because tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis can be such serious illnesses for infants, it is recommended that pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine so that they can develop antibodies and pass them on “to protect the babies in those critical first few months.”

The CDC recommends that children receive their first Tdap vaccine at 2 months of age, but Terk said the children are not completely covered until after the second dose, which they are supposed to receive at 4 months of age. By giving the vaccine to pregnant women, doctors hope to protect babies during those first few months – when they are unvaccinated and most vulnerable to disease.

Saad Omer, a professor of global health, epidemiology and pediatrics at Emory University, said the study was comprehensive and well-designed.

The results, he said, are “not surprising” but “very reassuring.”

(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Lindsey Bever 



  1. Another point of view. Anyone who works for and does research for a major pharmaceutical company has what they say be taken with a grain of salt. I am old enough to remember the endless line up of cigarette company employed doctors in the 60’s swearing up and down that cigarettes are harmless. I know that the link predates the study, but I personally do not trust the study or a Kaiser Permanente employee.–Is-It-Safe-.aspx

    • the surgeon general in the 1960s already said cigarettes were unhealthy.
      again apparently pharma is evil. but can you explain why big vitamin fights legislation to regulate vitamins and supplements more stringently for safety?
      so all doctors are in on this big conspiracy to con everyone? but wakefield a person who’s research was fake is a authority.
      how does that make sense

  2. A few points:
    – If the vaccines are so effective, why are expectant mothers who had the vaccines themselves, required to have them again in order to produce antibodies that they supposedly already have?
    – The “no-brainer” is a distortion, because the real cheshbon to be made is not “chance of getting whooping cough Vs chance of being damaged by the vaccine” but rather “chance of having serious complications after getting whooping cough Vs chance of vaccine damage.”
    – autism is not a “disease” and nobody really understands where it comes from
    – there are numerous potential complications that could arise following vaccination, not just autism

  3. Nobody has studied the impact of taking this vaccine every 18 months 8, 10, or 12 times on the mother which is what many frum women would do because the doctors order this for every pregnancy. Autoimmune diseases anybody?

  4. If you read the package insert of the vaccine (that tiny folded up paper that comes wrapped around the vial), it clearly states that this vaccines has never been studied on pregnant women. Is it so farfetched to question whether injecting a mixture of known toxins poses a risk to mother and fetus? Just a few decades ago doctors prescribed thalidomide to expecting mothers because they were told that it was completely safe. That was the consensus of the time and doctors were certain that they were provided with the best science had to offer. The world soon found out that thalidomide caused birth defects. Science is all ways evolving and changing. Much of what we believed even 20 years ago has been disproven. Study after study has shown Tdap to cause miscarriage and even cause pertussis to be spread from mother to baby once the baby is born.

  5. Dr Andrew Wakefield was a highly respected medical researcher until he got on the wrong side of the establishment. To label him a conspiracy theorist is just cheeky.

  6. How could anyone risk injecting these toxins while pregnant. Have you read the product insert? Aluminum adjuvants directly inthe blood stream with polysobate 80 – a known carcinogen which allows the aluminum to cross the blood brain barrier. It’s all a money making business. Who will take responsibility when you do have a reaction. Google vaers. Do the research before spreading lies. Protect yourself and your baby naturally. The way gd intended not by injecting carcinogenic agents and praying you and your baby don’t react.

  7. Big Pharma at it again. How about announcing your propaganda on Real News instead of on Washington Post Fake News Enemies of the People? No Real News would accept you, huh?

  8. So it’s illegal to post here on that Big Pharma is at it again and paying Fake News for their propaganda. Apparently, they must have lost millions of dollars. It wouldn’t help them much because most people know the truth from Real News that autism was caused from vaccination – not necessarily during their mother’s pregnancy, but many of them got it within the first few years of infancy.

    • Total stupidity. Vaccines never caused any baby to get autism. Stop spreading your lies. I never took the flu shot for my own reasons, but it has NOTHING to do with autism.

      • Uhu. You know for sure. As if the thousands of mothers who are telling the same story just don’t know their kids and are imagining it.
        Every other medication in the world is allowed to have side effects but vaccines are perfect.


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