Friday, March 13, 2009
Vaccines save lives
I am a mother with two boys, 51‚Ñ2 and 21‚Ñ2, both of whom were diagnosed with autism in 2007.
There is a lot of research that concludes there is no causal association between vaccines and autism. I wanted to address some of the common misconceptions about vaccinations.
A child is born with mercury in his or her system. They are exposed to it through breast milk and formula. The amount that a child is exposed to daily from these sources is more than what is in the entire childhood vaccination schedule.
Aluminum salts have been an ingredient in vaccines since the 1920s. A review of several studies, completed in February 2004, on this subject, showed there were no serious problems.
Many parents don’t understand the large amount of testing that is involved before any vaccine is approved. The FDA can take (and does) up to 10 years of researching a vaccine’s safety before approving it and the process doesn’t end there.
Through vaccinations we have eradicated smallpox, and polio has been eliminated from most countries in the world. It is estimated that 2.5 million deaths are prevented because of vaccinations. The Hib vaccine is one of the vaccination program’s greatest successes. Since its introduction, the incidence of Hib disease, which causes bacterial meningitis in infants and children, has decreased 99 percent. An outbreak of this particular disease is senseless. Five children were affected, last year in Minnesota; three of the five were not vaccinated (by parent’s choice), one hadn’t yet completed the series and the other had an immune deficiency. Having a disease under control, or almost eradicated does not mean we should get complacent. Vaccinations will always be important for the health of our children.
In the last decade many genes were found that cause autism; there are more to find. On the other hand, in that same decade, no new environmental causes have been found, not one.
It isn’t enough for a parent to know the ingredients in vaccines and their possible side effects. We must know the harmful effects of each of the diseases. It is also a very good idea to have an open-minded discussion with your child’s pediatrician.
Looking for answers
I want to commend Vindicator correspondent Sean Barron for his story, “Looking for Autism Answers.”. Unfortunately, most main-stream media outlets have taken it upon themselves to blame convenient “scapegoats,” such as Jenny McCarthy or Dr. Wakefield, for sowing “seeds of distrust” among parents justifiably fearful their children are being given “too many, too soon” vaccines.
However, your article correctly identifies the widespread and growing distrust of vaccines because thousands of parents report — within moments, hours, days or months of vaccinating their perfectly healthy child — that their child suffered seizures, convulsions, extraordinarily high, lingering temperatures, inconsolable crying, sleepless nights for weeks on end, diarrhea, regression, loss of communication and social development ... eventually being diagnosed with autism.
It is the CDC, not parents, who report that one in every six American children suffer some type of chronic autoimmune disorder, such as, allergies, autism, asthma, juvenile Type 1 diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ADD, ADHD, etc.
Parents want to know why the most heavily vaccinated generation in our nation’s history is suffering so many chronic autoimmune diseases that were far less common in all previous, less vaccinated generations, and science has yet to give them an answer.