More American children are unvaccinated than ever, according to a US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published November 10.During the 2010s, the US had maintained nearly 95% vaccination coverage. Vaccine coverage in kindergarten-aged children fell to 94% in 2021 and to about 93% in 2022. Vaccine exemption rates rose to 3% nationally and in ten states, it was above 5%.“It is not clear whether this reflects a true increase in opposition to vaccination, or if parents are opting for nonmedical exemptions because of barriers to vaccination or out of convenience,” the report concluded.“Whether because of an increase in hesitancy or barriers to vaccination, the COVID-19 pandemic affected childhood routine vaccination.”According to the CDC website, deaths from COVID-19 make up about 3% of all deaths, though the percentage is even smaller in children.In 2003, a measles outbreak occurred in a boarding school in Pennsylvania with a vaccination rate of 95%. Out of nine laboratory-confirmed cases of measles, only two patients were unvaccinated.By contrast, in December 2022, measles broke out in central Ohio where immunization rates ranged from 80% to 90%. However, 67% of the 73 children infected were unvaccinated.In recent years, childhood measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP) vaccines have faced alleged links to autism and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for its links to encephalitis.Long-term vaccine safety data and vaccine studies are lacking. The Haemophilus influenzae B vaccine (Hib), a four-dose series approved for US infants and children aged two months to five years, only monitored safety for 30 days post-vaccination. The package insert for Infanrix, a DTaP vaccine, states adverse reactions were monitored for just four days after vaccination.In 2013, the National Vaccine Program Office commissioned the former Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee, now the National Academy of Medicine, to reexamine the evidence supporting safety claims for the CDC's childhood vaccine schedule.The committee found "few studies have comprehensively assessed the association between the entire immunization schedule or variation in the overall schedule” and health outcomes, and "no study has directly examined health outcomes" the way the committee was charged to address.The committee added no studies have been conducted “to determine the long-term effects of the cumulative number of vaccines or other aspects of the immunization schedule.”Although no long-term randomized, controlled trials exist for any vaccines, research has compared vaccinated populations to unvaccinated.A 2017 pilot study led by professor Anthony Mawson at Jackson State University compared vaccinated, partially vaccinated, and unvaccinated children aged six to 12. Fully and partially vaccinated children had significantly fewer cases of chickenpox and pertussis. However, they had 30 times greater odds of being diagnosed with allergic rhinitis; five times the odds of a learning disability; around four times greater odds of having allergies, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism; and almost four times the odds of a neurodevelopmental disorder.Mr. Mawson’s second study compared children who were unvaccinated, vaccinated and vaccinated with preterm birth, which is a risk factor for neurodevelopmental deficits. Full-term vaccinated children had almost three times the odds of neurodevelopmental disorders than the unvaccinated, while preterm vaccinated children had 14.5 times greater odds.A 2020 study led by Brian Hooker, professor emeritus of biology at Simpson University, compared data of vaccinated and unvaccinated children from three different medical practices. Vaccinated children had nearly 4.5 greater odds of asthma and over twice the odds of developmental delays and ear infections.Randomized placebo-controlled trials are considered the gold standard in testing treatments. Since these studies are not randomized and controlled, they do not indicate a causal relationship, but suggest potential health concerns.