Immunization Science

Vaccines and Asthma Among Full-Term Infants

The article

Infant vaccinations and childhood asthma among full-term infants. Maher JE, Mullooly JP, Drew L, and DeStefano F. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 2004;13(1):1-9

The question

Are vaccinations given in the first 18 months of life associated with childhood asthma among full-term infants?

The study

This study follows up children from a previous case-control study that sought to identify a relationship between infant wheezing and recent vaccination among full-term infants. The previous study did not find an association between vaccines and wheezing during infancy.

In this study, the researchers examined whether infant immunizations were related to asthma in later childhood.

The findings

This study included a total of 1778 full-term infants, 9% of whom had asthma.

The investigators found that asthma was not associated with having received hepatitis B vaccine or age at first hepatitis B vaccination; the number of whole-cell pertussis, Haemophilis influenzae type b (Hib) or oral polio vaccine doses; having received measles, mumps, rubella vaccine; or the total number of vaccine doses combined.

The study did find that childhood asthma was associated with the frequency of wheezing episodes in infancy–defined in this study as ‘the first 18 months of life.’

The relevance/bottom line

The findings do not support the theory that vaccines are associated with an increased risk of asthma among full-term infants.

NNii’s comments

This paper adds to the body of evidence that vaccines are not associated with an increased risk of asthma.