July 7, 2015
For parents and families an Autism diagnoses can be frightening. The questions will run rampant through their minds; why our child, why our family, how did they get it, has anyone else in our family tree been diagnosed with it in the past, who is to blame, what is the cure? With more questions than answers, family life as once known would change.
Of course, the question regarding vaccines and autism has been an emotional and controversial topic these past few years. Originating from a study in 1997 published by Andrew Wakefield, parents worried about the potential for risks and long-term side effects of vaccinations – specifically vaccines and autism. However, research has shown these fears about vaccinations to be unfounded.
According to the CDC there is no link between vaccines and autism. A 2013 CDC study looked at the number of antigens (substances in vaccines that cause the body’s immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies) from vaccines during the first two years of life. The results showed that the total amount of antigen from vaccines received was the same between children with autism spectrum disorder and those that did not have autism. Since 2003, there have been nine CDC-funded or conducted studies that have found no link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorder. (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/Autism/Index.html)
Why is it important to immunize our children? We immunize not just to protect our children but also to protect our future, our grandchildren, and their grandchildren. We immunize to eliminate disease and to prevent the spread of known disease to others. What would happen if we stopped immunizing? Diseases that are almost unheard of today and nearly under control would stage a comeback, causing more children to get sick. (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/why.htm)
In 2013, for example, several measles outbreaks occurred around the country, mainly among groups with low vaccination rates. If immunization rates dropped to low levels nationally, diseases could become as common as they were before vaccines were invited, and we could find ourselves battling epidemics of diseases we thought we had conquered decades ago. (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm)