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Delaying Common Vaccine Could Cause Seizures

Little baby get an injection
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Skeptical of vaccinating early? Consider this: A new report shows that putting off a newborn's measels vaccine could have some pretty big consequences. The evidence, which comes from the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, shows that there's an ideal window of time the measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccination (MMRV) should be given—and missing or skipping that window altogether puts kids at risk for developing seizures.

While lots of parents remain wary of the MMRV vaccine and its safety, there is actually lots of evidence out there to defend its safety. Meanwhile, Medical Daily reports that the rise in measles cases over the last few years has become worrisome in and of itself, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recording 158 separate cases in 2013 alone. To put that in perspective, the U.S. usually sees an average of 60 measles cases each year, which means that stat doubled this year. But, more importantly, 92 percent of those cases involved unvaccinated children.

In the Kaiser Permanente study, kids who were vaccinated with MMR between 16 and 23 months old were twice as likely to suffer seizures than those who were vaccinated earlier, between 12 and 15 months. Another side effect of waiting? Fevers came on much more often in kids who were vaccinated later.

"Many parents delay vaccines to minimize the risk for an adverse event," Dr. Kristen Feemster, pediatrician, wrote in response to the study. "The results should provide evidence that if vaccine safety is a concern, the currently recommended schedule is the best choice for preventing disease and minimizing adverse events."

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