To determine whether children who received recommended vaccines on time during the first year of life had different neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years of age as compared with children with delayed receipt or nonreceipt of these vaccines.
Publicly available data, including age at vaccination, from a previous VaccineSafety Datalink study of thimerosal exposure and 42 neuropsychological outcomes were analyzed. Vaccine receipt was defined as timely when each vaccine was received within 30 days of the recommended age. Associations between timeliness and each outcome were tested in univariate analyses. Multivariable regression models were constructed for further assessment of the impact of timeliness on neuropsychological outcomes after adjustment for potential confounders. Secondary analyses were performed on a subset of children with the highest and lowest vaccine exposures during the first 7 months of life.
Timely vaccination was associated with better performance on 12 outcomes in univariate testing and remained associated with better performance for 2 outcomes in multivariable analyses. No statistically significant differences favored delayed receipt. In secondary analyses, children with the greatest vaccine exposure during the first 7 months of life performed better than children with the least vaccine exposure on 15 outcomes in univariate testing; these differences did not persist in multivariable analyses. No statistically significant differences favored the less vaccinated children.
Timely vaccination during infancy has no adverse effect on neuropsychological outcomes 7 to 10 years later. These data may reassure parents who are concerned that children receive too many vaccines too soon.