09 January 2008

Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

The evidence that vaccines do not cause autism is overwhelming. Also, measles is no joke. It is not a merely uncomfortable childhood experience. In 2002, there were 600,000 children who died from the disease.

The death rate is far lower in the developed world than the third world due to widespread vaccination (a 96% vaccination rate for kindergarteners in the United States) which prevents the disease from spreading in isolated breakouts usually from contact with non-U.S. persons from places that have lower vaccination rates. Of course, even in the majority of developed world cases where measles infections do not kill, the infection is nothing anyone would wish on a child. It is not a major killer in the United States (on average about ten deaths per year distributed unevenly in connection with epidemic outbreaks), but it is almost completely avoidable with a safe and effective shot.

Independent research has found no link between the childhood MMR vaccination and either autism or Crohn’s disease (a chronic inflammatory bowel disease). This should encourage parents to follow the advice of their family doctor and have their children immunised with the triple dose vaccine.

Measles, mumps and rubella can be serious diseases with potentially fatal consequences. Using single dose vaccines would leave children exposed to the risk of infection for longer periods.

A colossal amount of work has been done by GPs and their primary health care teams to convince parents of the value of vaccination. MMR is an extremely safe vaccine and has been used worldwide for nearly 30 years. Over 500 million doses have been used in over 90 countries. . . By protecting their own children, parents are also protecting other people’s children from the serious health risks associated with the illnesses of measles, mumps and rubella.

Vaccination levels for MMR fell following adverse publicity in 1998 after the publication of a paper suggesting an association with the MMR vaccine and autism and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr Andrew Wakefield suggested that if there was a link between MMR and these conditions, the risk might be avoided by giving three separate doses one year apart.

No independent studies, however, have been able to find any evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism or bowel disease.

From the British Medical Association.

No comments: