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Study Shows No Link Between Flu Vaccine and Autism

In the past, moms-to-be have been warned that getting the flu or the flu vaccine while pregnant may increase the baby’s risk of autism. A study published last month, however, found no association between the infection and the mental disorder.

In the study, researchers looked at 196,929 children born at the Kaiser Permanente facility in Northern California between 2000 and 2010. Of those kids, only 1.6% had been diagnosed with autism. Of their mothers, 1,400 were infected with the flu while pregnant and 23% had received the flu shot while they were expecting.

The researchers concluded that there was no correlation between the flu or the flu vaccine and autism spectrum disorder in the second or third trimester. They did notice an increased risk of autism among children whose mothers were vaccinated during the first trimester; however, the number, they said, was “not statistically significant.”

“The way we feel people should interpret this is that there is really not any increased risk for autism, and we’re recommending no changes in the vaccine policy,” said the senior research scientist for Kaiser, Lisa Croen. “It should be reassuring for prospective mothers.”

Health professionals recommend the flu vaccine for everyone six months and older. According to Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu shot cuts a person’s risk of contracting the illness by at least half.

Following last year’s example, the CDC is concerned that fewer Americans are getting the vaccine this year. Last year, the U.S. saw a three percent drop in the number of people over age 50 who got vaccinated.

However, some medical professionals are turning to vaccination tracking software as a solution. Researchers have found that immunization software and computerized physician reminders actually increase the use of flu and pneumococcal vaccinations from nearly 0% to 35% and 50%, respectively, among hospitalized patients.

Primary care providers can also take advantage of this vaccine tracking system and other immunization software to send out automatic reminders when it’s time to get a vaccination renewed.

Are you a medical professional looking for more information about electronic medical records and flu shot tracking software? Contact Venato today.

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