Is There A Link Between Vaccines and Autism?

I get asked this a lot and I do stand on one side of the fence more than the other but I don’t usually like to get involved because I think all parents need to stick together regardless of what they believe. If you agree with that and do not wish to read further on, then I humbly recommend you stop reading and move on to another of my posts.

Now then, there’s far to much to cover in so many areas, I just don’t know where to start, however, I think most everyone that wants to know my own personal opinion is hoping that it’s not the last to be mentioned in some long winded summary… so here it is:

I personally believe that vaccines and Autism are not linked, that not only do vaccines not cause Autism, but they don’t even trigger it. Now, don’t close your browser if you disagree, and don’t just dismiss everything I say, I’m hoping to argue both sides of this and inject with my personal understandings and explain how I came to this conclusion.

Where to start? How about 1998!

In 1998, the Lancet reported that a new study had linked the MMR vaccination with Autism in children, sparking a worldwide panic and causing a lot of people to keep their children away from vaccinations. Since then however, the Lancet had retracted that report… most of us know why, if you do, skip the next 2 paragraphs, if not, here’s why:

Dr Wakefield, the doctor that conducted the study had only done the study on 12 children, and not just random children but children from a birthday party which he “rewarded” the parents for. Not only was this “control group” not really a control group at all but he conducted some experiments on them which were considered unethical. 10 of the 13 doctors that worked with Dr. Wakefield took back their findings.

It was also later revealed that he was paid 150 pounds per hour by a lawyer who was in the midst of suing vaccine companies to do the study, which is a rather large breach of interest. Due to all these things, his medical license was revoked and he has been barred from practising medicine in the UK ever again. Since then it’s also been revealed that Dr. Wakefield in fact had his own patent on his own vaccine which he was hoping would take the place of the MMR vaccine, making him a lot of money. Not to mention the book, the book which has gone on to make him a lot of money regardless of any of these controversies.

Now, don’t get me wrong… the arguments for the countless studies that deny the link are also rife with controversy, the latest study finding a link between genes and Autism apparently had some financial backing from large pharmaceutical companies.

I don’t want to make this part of it all one sided, there’s a TON that could make you question the studies finding there is no link, my opinion on this is DO NOT QUESTION ONE SIDE AND NOT THE OTHER!

It’s like this, I can’t take Dr. Wakefield’s findings or his book as the gospel and “the truth” despite there being a LOT of obvious controversy around it and then deny everything and anything on the other side of the argument. If all studies are funded by shadows on one side or the other, how can, as a side line viewer, possibly know which is true and which isn’t? I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THOSE THAT TELL ME WHAT I WANT TO HEAR BASED ON FAITH.

Again, not to seem to side with one side more than the other, I found this sattirical comic semi amusing and also well written as an attempt to simplify it: http://darryl-cunningham.blogspot.com/2010/05/facts-in-case-of-dr-andrew-wakefield.html

Fast Forward to Mercury (Thiomersal or Thimerosal)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal#Autism

This was the big push, that there was mercury in the vaccine which is highly toxic and will mess up the brain and cause Autism. First of all, Thiomersal was removed in 1999 and the number of diagnoses continue to increase. Secondly, the ‘mercury’ that was found in it is not the same metallic stuff you used to find in a thermometer. That’s what we all picture, I even saw a youtube video of mercury being poured onto steel and compared it to what is in our heads. That simply is not the case.

However, I am no scientist and even the true scientists can not convince people of that so I’ll leave that alone for now and ask you this, how do those unvaccinated children become Autistic? What about the children in parts of the world where there are no vaccines at all? How do some children exhibit Autistic signs/symptoms before they ever get their MMR shot?

I also go into a few of my points here:  How Old is Autism?
I talked with friends how we had less vaccines as children than children do today, but then I think back to Temple Grandin and how she’s 60 now. How many vaccines did she have? Also, my grandparents had “special needs” children in their school, special classrooms to keep them in! How many vaccines did those children have? And further back than that.. was Mozart Autistic? Van Gogh? They didn’t even have vaccines back then!

There was a recent report on CNN which I found quite interesting where basically some women strapped an air examiner to their backs with a vacuum type air way near the mouth, and it analyzed the air they breathed. The conclusion? The toxins, including mercury, in their fetus corresponded to what they found in the backpack… the air they breathed did it!

The Vaccine Wars

There was a recent video on PBS called the Vaccine Wars, you can watch it here. It was very one sided, making the moms of the anti-vaccine out to be the bad guys, or just crazy… I’m not sure I agree with how the video was made, but I do agree with the conclusion.

An argument I hear a lot is “Polio is not a problem in the US so why vaccinate against it?” well, it’s not a problem BECAUSE of the vaccines. And it remains no problem BECAUSE of the vaccines. Have you ever killed all the mosquitos in your camping tent? Did another one find it’s way in later? More? You can’t expect polio to just stay where ever it is and not find it’s way back. It’s still out there and it’s looking for a way in.

The people in the US pride themselves on being a great nation that everyone wants to visit or live in well… those people may have polio!! I think that people have just forgotten how bad some of these things can be. Polio can leave your child paralysed or even dead.

Imagine you stopped vaccinating, and then you brought a newborn baby home to see it’s grandmother who was just riding out on a bus with a foreigner who just landed the day before and is carrying polio. Well, your grandmother, who was vaccinated, won’t get it… but will carry it to your newborn because that baby won’t get vaccinated for it until it’s 1 or 2 months old.

Same goes for whooping cough, mumps, measles and more… they can and do kill.

Conclusion

My first son was diagnosed with Autism, I saw it in him before his vaccination. When my second son came along 2 years later, people were quick to ask if we’d “take that chance” again. My wife and I had never even given it a second thought. We always knew that he’d be getting vaccinated as well, and he was, and he’s fine.

I am not unsympathetic… I realize your child may have been ripped away from you shortly after getting what you thought was a harmless needle. I also think, however, that if your child started coughing up blood and choked until they died, you’d be just as strong a fighter in favour of making sure future kids get vaccinated so that never happens again.

Your passion is your strength, your passion is your motivation and it can help you topple corporations and even governments, of that I have no doubt. However, if your passion is misguided… it can lead to death as well.

Don’t believe what you need to believe, believe the truth… and from where I’m sitting, we have no truth right now. Not yet. No one, not those that represent big corporations, not those that are paid off, not those that stand to make money, not those that say what we want to hear… no one has told us the truth. And that’s what we need to fight for.

Do I believe there’s a link between vaccines and autism? No, but I also know that I can be proven wrong. But being told what I want to hear isn’t proof.

PS

I’m sorry if you feel any anger towards me, think less of me, what ever… ultimately this is why I try not to speak up on this in the first place. We need to stand up together for truth, for awareness and for prevention. We need to be a united voice, not what we have now. Right now we’re split, divided and fighting amongst ourselves and the more we fight, the more passionate we get, the more we’ll rush out to buy books from both sides and line all of their pockets even more!!

While we’re divided, nobody wins but them.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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4 Responses to Is There A Link Between Vaccines and Autism?

  1. stefani June 16, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

    I think one thing to look at when discussing vaccines is the age at when vaccines are given. The MMR is given around the same time children are developing their language skills, so it is easy to see why parents think they are linked. Delays in language seem to coincide around the time a vaccine is given, but really, it could just be coincidence.
    That being said, I plan on having my children vaccinated. There is not enough evidence to convince me otherwise.

  2. Rose Wade June 17, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    I’ve always been of the mind to neither accept or dispute the link between Autism and vaccines. The mishandled and questionable study done by Dr. Wakefield didn’t influence my opinion of vaccines, it influenced my opinion of Dr. Wakefield.

    As a mom, I have no way of finding definitive evidence for the link between Auti…sm and vaccines. Regardless of the studies and evidence for and against, I still believe in the possibility. Vaccines aren’t infallible.

    Both of my children have received all of their immunizations. Whether or not vaccines contributed to my son’s Autism, he remains Autistic. I don’t know if vaccines cause Autism, but I do know vaccines prevent disease.

    I hadn’t thought about the prevalence of Autism in countries where vaccines are unavailable. As far as Mozart, and other individuals thought to be Autistic, well there’s simply no way for us to know for certain in they in fact were autistic. It’s speculation.

    I’m pleased that I found your blog, Stuart. I don’t miss any of your posts. Your insights are intelligent, un-biased, and thought provoking.

    @}– Rose
    http://therobinhoodlegocampaign.webs.com

  3. Stuart Duncan June 17, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    Yes, it’s true… the MMR just happens to be the vaccine given right at the key time when Autism tends to become most evident. However I think that, for many parents, they see their child go from talking to not talking… from hugging and kissing to no longer able to look at them.
    That being said, I know my own son can ‘regress’ to a point of needing time alone just from playing with a friend for 30 minutes… it’s too much for him. So I could only imagine what being pinned down and having metal jabbed into their arms could do… regardless of what’s in it.

    Rose, I agree… I’m still on the fence, just more on one side than the other. But I most certainly don’t think I’m right. It’s just my opinion based on what I know thus far. Perhaps one day someone will finally prove it one way or the other once and for all.

    Until then, I’d love to see less studies on it and more aides, teachers and programs so that my son isn’t put on 3 year waiting lists.

    Thank you so very much for the kind words too. I really appreciate the support and more so the compliments. Most of the time I sit here wondering if anyone is even reading, much less caring what I say. I’m just a dad, doing the best he can.

  4. Sean Shapcott June 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    Your ps says it perfectly 🙂 I don’t think anybody has the right to judge or comment or your position regarding vaccines. It’s your choice and after reading this I’m quite sure you are far more educated than most on the subject.

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