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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let's Talk About Autism and Vaccinations

Both the spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ari Brown, and the Institute of Medicine have “definitively” denied any link between thimerosal (the preservative found in vaccines) or the MMR vaccine and Autism. They are citing 5 studies that have tracked thousands of children since 2001 and say that no link between the vaccines and Autism exists. I am well aware of the debate that goes on daily and my heart goes out to those parents who feel that the MMR vaccine or thimerosal are to blame for the state of their Autistic child. But I just can’t help but wonder how can we debate facts? Some say that the levels of mercury in the vaccines are nowhere near harmful and others claim that the levels are higher than what would be permissible by the EPA for adults. Who is correct? Both sides can be convincing. It is important to be able to look at the body of evidence available and then to make a decision based on what the facts show. If we do not vaccinate then we are at risk for disease so we really need to know if it is worth withholding the potentially lifesaving vaccines from the tender and helpless bodies of our babies.

My children were both vaccinated according to the schedule prescribed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And schools require vaccination records before they will admit a child into their program. If you are one of the ones who have chosen not to vaccinate how do you get around this? And do those of us who have vaccinated our children want those unprotected children in the vicinity of our schools?

Believe me when I say that I know you are hurt. If I believed that vaccinations caused my girls to be Autistic I can’t imagine how hurt I would be. But I can’t help but wonder why, if studies have denied any link, and guidelines have remained the same, we are not looking at other possible causes. The Autism rate has been increasing over the last two decades so there is probably a cause somewhere out there. What if we are focusing on the wrong thing? Thimerosal has even reportedly been removed from most vaccines since 1999 but the rates of Autism continue to climb even despite this.

Should we look elsewhere?

1 comment:

  1. My little girl is fully vaccinated, but I chose to space her vaccines and split up the MMR...more co-pays, more shots, but in the end it was the right decision for us. My issue is not with Thimerisol (because, as you stated in your post it is not common in present-day vaccines), I am, however, concerned about the amount of aluminum in the vaccines and that there have been no studies on the effect of such high doses of aluminum on babies.

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