Kids with Autism and Younger Siblings Less Likely to Be Fully Vaccinated, Study Finds

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Eight-year-old Marques Ward receives a vaccination from Senior Airman Alecia Peel at the Kadena Immunizations Clinic at the Kadena US Air Force Base in Japan.
Source: Angelique Perez, “Kadena Copes with Hib Vaccine Shortage,”, Aug. 13, 2008

Children who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their younger siblings are less likely to have received the full slate of CDC recommended vaccinations, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics on Mar. 26, 2018. 80% of children with ASD received all CDC recommended vaccines between ages four and six, compared to 94% of children without an autism diagnosis. Of the younger siblings of children with ASD, 73% had been fully vaccinated by 11 months old, compared to 85% of the younger siblings of children without autism diagnoses.

The study surveyed 3,729 children diagnosed as on the autism spectrum before age five who were born between 1995 and 2010 and 592,907 children without autism diagnoses in six locations in the United States.

Lead author Ousseny Zerbo, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Vaccine Study Center at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, stated, “In this large and comprehensive study, we found that after children received an autism diagnosis, the rates of vaccination were significantly lower when compared with children of the same age who did not have an autism diagnosis.”

Robin P. Goin-Kochel, PhD, Associate Director for Research at the Autism Center of Texas Children’s Hospital, stated, “Fears about an autism-vaccine link persist and contribute to growing numbers of unvaccinated or undervaccinated children.” Her own work found that children with autism are likely to be fully vaccinated up to age 2, when children are typically diagnosed with autism.


Alison Bowen, “Kids with Autism–and Their Young Siblings–Less Likely to Receive Vaccinations,”, Mar. 27, 2018

Kaiser Permanente, “Children with Autism and Their Younger Siblings Less Likely to Be Fully Vaccinated,”, Mar. 26, 2018

Susan Scutti, “Children with Autism Less Likely to Be Fully Vaccinated, Study Finds,”, Mar. 26, 2018

Ousseny Zerbo, Sarareh Modaressi, and Kristin Goddard, “Vaccination Patterns in Children after Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and in Their Younger Siblings,”, Mar. 26, 2018