Dear WCAAP Members,
We are writing about a recently released study, “Association Between Aluminum Exposure from Vaccines Before Age 24 Months and Persistent Asthma at Age 24-59 Months” – Academic Pediatrics, Sept. 23, 2022. You can read about the study here and commentary here.
We anticipate you – and parents – will have some questions about what this study means for childhood vaccination and wanted to share our thoughts and some key messages.
The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) that conducted the study was specifically set up by the CDC precisely to look for things like this. The intent of this observational study was not to definitively answer the question of whether there is any cause-and-effect relationship between aluminum adjuvants and persistent asthma, as the very nature of the study makes that impossible, but instead to see whether a possible safety issue exists that warrants further investigation. This is specifically called out in both the study itself (“in a large observational study, a positive association was found between vaccine-related aluminum exposure and persistent asthma … while recognizing the small effect sizes identified and the potential for residual confounding, additional investigation of this hypothesis appears warranted”) and in the accompanying editorial.
We think this is an important study insofar as it indicates a possible link that must be further investigated, and we welcome efforts to investigate. As good scientists and clinicians, we should be prepared to act on the results of those future studies, whatever they may be, but any changes in immunization practice prior to getting those results would be premature. For this reason, the CDC is not altering the schedule for recommended childhood vaccinations at this time.
WCAAP wants to support our members as questions about this study may arise. Please let us know what kind of support would be most helpful to you.
We have linked relevant key messages from AAP and from the Association of Immunization Managers that may help you communicate with families.
WCAAP Vaccine Committee
Co-Chairs: John Dunn, MD, MPH, FAAP; Kristi Rice, MD, FAAP; Maria Huang, MD, FAAP