I recently read a post on another blog about a possible link between SIDS and vaccinations. If you're looking, you won't find it there anymore because due to the strong response, Kelly, the author of the blog, removed it. It amazes me that people find it acceptable to be so ugly and hurtful on the internet, especially towards someone who is already hurting (Kelly and her husband lost their 4 month old baby girl to SIDS this past February). If you wouldn't say the words to someone face to face, than do not type them on the computer either. The person who will read your words is a real person with feelings too.
But I digress. That's a whole other blog post right there.
Back in 1998, a Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper on a study he conducted about a possible link between childhood vaccinations and autism. However, not only did he only use 12 test subjects (not nearly enough to get proper test results), he is also suspected of misrepresenting or altering the medical histories of the 12 subjects. He has since had his medical license revoked.
This study sparked panic in many parents who immediately rethought their decision to vaccinate their children. In 2007, actress Jenny McCarthy brought the study to everyone's attention. Her son was diagnosed with autism and she blamed the vaccines he had received. Because of her celebrity status, she was able to push this idea very successfully.
So are vaccinations really all that important?
In the 1920s, over 10,000 people a year died from diptheria, a
disease that a simple vaccine can prevent. It was the leading cause of
death of toddlers in the 19th century. Since the vaccine for diptheria
was created, that number has dipped to only a few cases a year.
is another disease that has been eradicated from America by a vaccine
(although it is steadily making a comeback due to lower rates of
vaccination). Before the measles vaccine was available, most children
contracted measles before they turned 15. Approximately 450 people died
each year from it.
Since 2007, there have been over 80,000 instances of diseases that were once believed to be eradicated in this country due to vaccinations. There have been over 700 deaths. Diseases such as measles, mumps, pertussis, etc. are making a comeback. Because of some parents' decisions not to vaccinate their children, other children who are to young or weak to have received the vaccinations, or who have not gotten the booster shots yet, are also at risk.
So why is autism so much more prevalent today than it was even 30 years ago? I don't believe it is. Doctors nowadays watch for signs of autism starting at a very early age, and parents are much more aware of the disorder as well. What is now diagnosed as autism would have been diagnosed as a different disorder completely at one time. We have also come to realize that the spectrum of autism is very large. Many people who are diagnosed with autism, would have once been thought of as "retarded" or "different." We now know that these people are on the autism spectrum and should be treated accordingly.
I invite you to comment with your opinion. Just remember that this is MY blog and I expect a certain level of civility and respect for others here.