I doubt we will ever know the truth about the link between autism and vaccinations. For those of us who already have autistic children, the answer is moot. For those in government the stakes are too high for them to admit that there is a link as the ensuing backlash from the general population will be huge. The idea that parents will refuse to vaccinate their kids and the specter of massive outbreaks of previously controlled diseases is their worst nightmare. They will do anything in their power to ensure the status quo where every parent vaccinates their kids. They are so scared that they have take every opportunity to display the pros of vaccination and have even planted subliminal messages in every TV program that they are able. Some governments (such as California) have even gone as far as passing laws that allow a 12 year old to make decisions regarding vaccinations without parental consent. They are too young to vote, but of course they have the maturity to evaluate the trade-offs of vaccinations.
On the other side of the coin, you have parents like ourselves who witnessed their children change within days of receiving vaccinations. When Ethan was 12 months old, he received the MMR and DTaP boosters. That night he developed a very high fever and started vomiting. He was still vomiting the next day when we called the doctor, only to be told that it is very normal and that 1 in 1000 kids have a bad reaction to the shots. The treatment was Tylenol for the fever and give him lots of liquid. 3 days later, the fever broke and so did Ethan. He withdrew to the corner and that was the beginning of our journey down the road of autism. A sample of one is not enough to draw conclusions, but we are but one family in thousands who witnessed the same events.
If you are a parent who is expecting a child or if you are the parent of a newborn, you really have to do your own risk management. The downside of your child contracting a debilitating disease versus the downside of your child developing autism also a debilitating “disease”. The decision is very tough. We know many parents who chose not to vaccinate their kids and are trusting the rest of the “vaccinated herd” to keep the disease away from their children. Other parents do not want to face the specter of a child with polio and so are selective in which vaccinations they give their children. The remaining parents choose to vaccinate their kids against everything.
I do not have the answer but I also have no respect for those who insist on selling fear. The only advice I have for those who chose to vaccinate is as follows:
- Delay the vaccinations out as much as possible. Give your child’s immune system time to mature. Studies show that delaying the DTaP by 2 months reducing the risk of asthma by 50%.
- Space the vaccinations out as much as possible. One unknown is the interaction effect of the various vaccinations. It is possible that the cumulative effect of the combination overwhelms the child’s immune system. It is more convenient for your doctor to give them all in one visit, but he does not have to live with the long term consequences. By law, no drug company is required to study the interaction effects.
I pray that one day we will learn about the effects of vaccinations on the development of children. Until then, may God bless and protect each and every one of you and your families.
By Dalia Shkedy – Ethan’s Mom