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Thorax. 2007 October; 62(10): 925–926.
PMCID: PMC2094236

Is childhood immunisation associated with atopic disease from age 7 to 32 years?

We read with interest the study by Nakajima et al1 which concluded that, in Tasmanian children, there are small age‐dependent associations between childhood immunisation and asthma, eczema and food allergy, but that these effects should not deter parents from immunising their children. However, it could be that the small (but significant) effects that were found are due to residual confounding since the authors made no adjustment for socioeconomic status, a factor found to be associated with allergy.2,3,4

On the other hand, the effects may have been underestimated since the authors included diseases preventable by childhood vaccinations (diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella) in the model, but these (what they call) “confounders” are in fact intermediate variables which possibly “take away” the association between vaccinations and allergy.


1. Nakajima K, Dharmage S C, Carlin J B. et al Is childhood immunisation associated with atopic disease from age 7 to 32 years? Thorax 2007. 62270–275.275 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Forastiere F, Agabiti N, Corbo G M. et al Socioeconomic status, number of siblings, and respiratory infections in early life as determinants of atopy in children. Epidemiology 1997. 8566–570.570 [PubMed]
3. Strachan D P, Harkins L S, Johnston I D. et al Childhood antecedents of allergic sensitization in young British adults. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997. 996–12.12 [PubMed]
4. Almqvist C, Pershagen G, Wickman M. Low socioeconomic status as a risk factor for asthma, rhinitis and sensitization at 4 years in a birth cohort. Clin Exp Allergy 2005. 35612–618.618 [PubMed]

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