Study: Number of antigens
in vaccines unrelated to
by Carrie L. Byington, M.D., FAAP
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides data that pediatricians can use to help alleviate concerns among
some vaccine-hesitant parents regarding the number of antigens children are exposed to through
The study, published July 12 in the journal
Phar-macoepidemiology and Drug Safety (http://onlineli
evaluated the neuropsychological outcomes at ages
7-10 years of more than 1,000 children born
between 1993 and 1997. Neuropsychological outcomes included intellectual function, speech and
language, memory, attention, and other executive
functions. The number of vaccine antigens each
child received was calculated from immunization
records that were available through managed care
organizations and were part of the CDC’s Vaccine
On average, children received 7,266, 8,127 and
10,341 antigens by ages 7, 12 and 24 months,
respectively. The number of antigens received by
children was not associated with any neuropsy-
In this issue
FDA marks pediatric drug labeling milestone
Thanks to the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act and the Pediatric
Research Equity Act, 500 drug labels have been revised to include
pediatric information and reduce off-label drug use in children.
Pages 3, 21
Pediatricians like what they do
An AAP Periodic Survey shows the majority of members are happy
with their career choice. Page 20
See Antigens, page 13
by Trisha Korioth • Staff Writer
Will global elimination of measles occur this
decade, along with rubella?
All six World Health Organization (WHO) global
regions are committed to eliminating measles by or
before 2020, a decision announced in September
just before a meeting that marked the 50th anniversary of the measles vaccine.
Although measles elimination in the United States
was declared in 2000, the disease continues to be
imported and spread in unvaccinated populations,
according to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
m6236a2.htm). The highly infectious disease claimed
158,000 lives worldwide in 2011.
While rubella is a mild disease, it can have serious
consequences for pregnant women and their children.
More than 100,000 children annually are born with
congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which often
presents with multiple birth defects, including deaf-
ness, blindness and heart problems. Most cases occur
in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific,
according to the Measles & Rubella Initiative.
‘Guardian angels’ honored
The measles vaccine was licensed in 1963. One
year later, rubella infected 50,000 pregnant U.S.
women with devastating outcomes.
Global eradication of both diseases couldn’t come
soon enough for Samuel L. Katz, M.D., FAAP, and
Louis Z. Cooper, M.D., FAAP, who have dedicated
their lives to stopping the spread of measles and
rubella. Dr. Katz co-invented the measles vaccine,
and Dr. Cooper’s intensive work on rubella and CRS
led to elimination of the disease in the United States
and improved care for affected families. Both
expressed their hope of witnessing eradication in
The Measles & Rubella Initiative honored senior
advisers Dr. Cooper and Dr. Katz with Special
Achievement Awards at its September meeting.
Dubbed the “guardian angels” of the AAP-supported
Measles vaccine marks 50th anniversary
World sets sight on measles,
rubella elimination this decade
See Measles, page 7
The healing brain needs to ease back into learning, according to a new
AAP clinical report that explores an under-addressed side of concussion
treatment. See article on Page 4.
Include cognitive breaks in concussion recovery
Photo courtesy of the CDC
The antigen load in vaccines currently given is
much lower than in the 1990s. No neuropsycho-
logical outcomes have been linked to antigen
load, information that further supports the safety
of the U.S. vaccine schedule for children.
Volume 34 • Number 11 • November 2013