The autism-vaccine debate has triggered a national following from a highly emotional group of people around the globe. These are parents of children diagnosed with autism. All of these parents are dead set to prove that their children’s autism was caused, triggered, or exacerbated by a combination of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine plus other shots, usually given at around 18 months of age.
But science is out to prove them wrong. Science years ago reached the conclusion that there’s no connection, but on August 26, 2010 the Federal Appeals Court threw out the claim, saying that no link has been scientifically proven. More than 5,500 families sought compensation through the government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, leading to disappointments and frustration as a result of this ruling.
As a mother of two children already diagnosed with Autism, I have been sharing my story with people, hoping to help science reach a conclusion. The first child was vaccinated, the second child wasn’t. There, now you have a case study right in my family.
I do strongly believe though that because of the brain-gut connection, these children have a weakened digestive system which impacts their autoimmune response to chemicals and even food. Add vaccines on the typically recommended schedule by the CDC and yes, you will get a response from a child with an underlying condition. But autism is there from birth, you will simply see it popping out following the vaccines.
Worry about a vaccine link first arose in 1998 when a British physician, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, published a medical journal article linking a particular type of autism and bowel disease to the measles vaccine. The study was soon discredited, and British medical authorities now are investigating professional misconduct charges against Wakefield.
Then came questions about thimerosal, a preservative that manufacturers began removing from all vaccines given to infants in 2001. Today it is present only in certain formulations of the flu shot.
Immunizing on an alternative schedule or delaying vaccinations until a child is closer to school age is still highly recommended for those with concerns. Federal law requires doctors to discuss the benefits and risks of any immunization before administering it, so your doctor should be willing to address your questions.
Currently, formerly eradicated diseases are returning to haunt us and a whole new generation of unvaccinated children are entering the school systems. It is still highly recommended to vaccinate children. A modified or “spaced out” schedule offers peace of mind for those who are worried about shocking the system with a load of vaccines.
- A Parents’ Guide to Managing Vaccinations: What to do if You Don’t Want Your Child to Get 8 Vaccines at Once? Written by Ricky Goldstein
- Making the Connection: Autism and Immunology Written by Sonia Mehta