I have numerous friends who were apprehensive about vaccinating their children because of a theory that they caused autism. It was all based in a theory hatched by Dr. Andrew Wakefield's study centering on a mere 12 children with mental regressions . Dr. Wakefield claimed that the MMR vaccine caused an "autism-like disorder" . Naturally , because people really wanted to believe the link , scores of concerned parents stopped vaccinating their kids .
And they were told a dangerous LIE.
As it turns out , Dr. Wakefield was a con man with a degree. His "research" was paid for by hungry ambulance-chasers hoping to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine . In addition , he tried to discredit a rival's vaccine because he wanted to sell his own . He was even cited for performing invasive medical procedures on wee kids who did not need them , for using somebody's babies as the proverbial guinea pigs. Thusly , The Lancet has done something rare - publicly retracting a research paper .
The bad doctor's paper did not have harmless results , however . Hordes of justifiably terrified parents stopped getting the shots for their kids , and not just the MMR vaccine , but ALL preventative injections. Rates of severe measles amongst children have skyrocketed in many industrialized nations . And children have DIED as a result. But no change in the rate of autism. Americans jumped on the theory claiming it was the preservative used in the vaccine and had it removed with no change whatsoever. Millions were spent disproving Dr. Wakefield's theory , and then the preservative theory , so anti-vaccine groups keep hatching new ones and telling people not to vaccinate their kids. And it is killing children .
Here are the FACTS . NO vaccine has EVER been definitively linked to autism. Autism has been diagnosed more often in recent decades because people recognize its symptoms . Even more types of the condition have been invented - so many in fact that I could have such a diagnosis . For the flu vaccine 1 in 100 00 people have a severe side effect , which pales in comparison to the fact that 1 in 20 who get the flu get severely ill . For the common DaTP vaccine , the risk of a serious reaction is one in a million . Diptheria, tetanus , and pertussis can all kill your kid. Less than 1 in one million people have an allergic reaction to the MMR vaccine. Children with severely compromised immune systems can have severe reactions to the Smallpox vaccine , and even those instances are rare. Smallpox WILL kill any child with an immune-suppressing condition .
We need to stop wasting increasingly scarce research dollars trying to disprove hairbrained theories posed by quacks and find out the ways to treat the conditions and help our youngest citizens live fuller lives. These theories were hatched over 200 years ago by religious zealots and is repeated today with the same disastrous results. When the Swedes stopped vaccinating for pertussis , over 60% of children contracted the terrifying condition. Some parents think they are doing the right thing by not getting the routine things done for their kids , but they are not. Vaccines are the reason why kids don't die as often as they did in days of yore , and to deprive your child of a distinct advantage on the word of a discredited quack is irrational . Children do get sick and do suffer , and it is horrifying when it happens. We want someone to blame , but sometimes there just isn't . Don't let the war over vaccines claim your child as a casualty.
Hug your kids.