The Vaccination Decision: Vaccines and Autism

autismOnce again this week we are talking about vaccination.  So far, we’ve covered the pros and some of the cons.  But the biggest con by far, the potential link between vaccines and autism, warranted a blog post all on its own.

The sheer amount of news stories, studies, interviews, and papers released on this topic to date is nothing short of mind-numbing.  As is the amount of finger-pointing, contradictions, and paranoia that exists on both sides of the debate. For every study that you find that either proves or disproves the connection between vaccines and autism, you will find a laundry list of concerns regarding the way the studies were set up and who funded them.

Complicating the issue further is the possibility that, the link between autism and vaccines (if there is one) may not be clear cut.  Its entirely possible that vaccines may trigger autism in children who are “genetically susceptible” to the disease.  Its also possible that it is not any one vaccine (or vaccine component) that can be linked to autism, but rather the fact that so many vaccines are given in so short a time, that may cause trigger the onset of autism.

In other words, regardless of your stance on the vaccine/autism issue, there is no shortage of information to support and/or refute your claim.  Here are some links where you can find more details about vaccines and autism.

Pro-Vaccine: There is no link between vaccines and autism

  • : “The weight of the evidence indicates that vaccines are not associated with autism.”
  • :”there is no scientifically proven link between measles vaccination and autism.”
  • Dr. Paul Ofitt, Director, Vaccine Education Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Studies of 1) the genetics of autism, 2) the timing of the first symptoms of autism (home-movie studies), 3) the relationship between autism and the receipt of the MMR vaccine, 4) the histopathology of the central nervous system of children with autism, and 5) thalidomide, natural rubella infection, fragile X syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis all support the fact that autism occurs during development of the central nervous system early in utero.” (From )
  • : “There is no link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or the vaccine preservative thimerosal, according to a report released by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) .”
  • : To date there is no definite, scientific proof that any vaccine or combination of vaccines can cause autism.”

Anti-Vaccine: There is a strong link between vaccines and autism

  • (Kids Need Options With Vaccines): “The strong correlation between autism and vaccine history becomes even more credible when the disease characteristics for both autism and mercury poisoning are compared.”
  • Autism Research Institute: List of studies linking thimerosal and/or the MMR vaccine to autism: and
  • : 2005 book identifies a possible link between thimerosal and rising rates of autism.
  • : Jenny McCarthy’s organization that researches the causes and treatments for autism.
  • : The blog of Ginger Taylor, and “autism mom” who writes about “news and commentary on the autism epidemic and my beautiful boy who is living with autism.”

Is your head spinning yet?  Now consider these two recent headlines in the vaccine/autism debate:

March 2008: The Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation concluded that in the case of (an eight year girl whose parents believe her autism was caused by vaccines,) an underlying illness that had predisposed her to symptoms of autism was “significantly aggravated” by the vaccinations she received as a toddler and that her family should therefore be compensated.

Feburay 1, 2009: A new study published in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases, finds “there is no correlation between vaccines and autism.”

And so we’re back to square one.

Photo: “Artism: art for Autism” by .

What Are Your Thoughts?