A review of the available evidence underscores the safety of the federal childhood immunization schedule, according to a report released Jan. 16, 2013 by the Institute of Medicine. University of Michigan population ecologist Pejman Rohani served on the 13-person committee that wrote the report.

Roughly 90 percent of American children receive most childhood vaccines advised by the federal immunization schedule by the time they enter kindergarten, the committee noted. However, some parents choose to spread out their children's immunizations over a different time frame than recommended by the schedule, and a small fraction object to having their children immunized at all.

Their concerns arise in part from the number of doses that children receive. The schedule entails 24 immunizations by age 2, given in amounts ranging from one to five injections during a pediatric visit.

"We reviewed the available data and concur with studies that have repeatedly shown the health benefits associated with the recommended schedule, including fewer illnesses, deaths and hospital stays," said Rohani, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, a professor of complex systems and a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health.

The report, "The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies," was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector and the public. The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council together make up the private, nonprofit National Academies.

On U-M News Service home page. The report  has been covered extensively in the media, including by The Wall Street Journal, NPR, ABC, CBS and NBC News, The Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, and more.  

Read the complete U-M News Service press release