Every once in awhile, stories start circulating about a link between vaccines and autism. And parents everywhere start to freak out. It’s not surprising that this issue evokes such strong feelings- I would freak out, too, if I hadn’t done my research.
Back up- a bit of history. In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield claimed to have found a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Read more about it here. Turns out, he was being paid by lawyers who were trying to sue vaccine manufacturers, his work was never able to be replicated, and he misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 patients in his study. Wakefield was stripped of his medical license in 2010, and his work was considered fraudulent.
But the damage had been done. Parents everywhere freaked out; as soon as Wakefield started promoting his results to the media, vaccination rates in the U.K. dropped dramatically, and Europe faced a measles epidemic in 2008.
There has been plenty of credible, scientific research to show that vaccines aren’t linked to autism. And it should make you feel better that scientists continue to work with mice and rats to determine vaccine safety. Bonus- rats are actually extremely helpful in understanding autism, as well.
Moms, I get you- the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your child’s health! But in order to make the best decision for your family, listen to the science behind the arguments. Before you circulate articles meant to sway someone towards a medical decision that could impact THEIR child’s health, make sure you know what you’re talking about first!
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