According to a recent paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the use of the flu vaccine during the first trimester increased the incidence of autism, but more importantly, catching the flu did not.
According to the study,
“[T]here was a suggestion of increased ASD risk among children whose mothers received influenza vaccinations early in pregnancy.
However, the paper continues:
“[A]lthough the association was insignificant after statistical correction for multiple comparisons.“
The comment about ‘after statistical correction … ” is often code for: “we wanted to get this published in a major medical journal funded by pharmaceutical companies so we found a way to get rid of the part they would object to”.
Regardless, the paper clearly encourages caution with the flu vaccine. If the flu vaccine administered during the first trimester contributes to the development of autism, but the flu itself does not, it would seem prudent to forego the vaccine in the initial stages of pregnancy. Having said that, you may also recall from a previous blog post that the flu vaccine loses efficacy the more often you get it and it increases one’s likelihood of getting sick. We continue to suggest that avoidance may be the best policy unless a particularly deadly flu comes around.