A study published in the March 2013 Journal of Pediatrics validates vaccine advocates and pediatricians regarding the safety of vaccines. The study looked at a large number of children with and without autism with respect to the number of vaccines they received in the first two years of life. The researchers concluded that the timing and number of vaccines these children received had nothing to do with their risk of developing autism.
Many parents question whether too many vaccines are administered to children today, especially combination vaccines given to very young children. Unfortunately, altering the recommended vaccine schedule is dangerous because it increases the period of time that children are vulnerable to these devastating diseases, not to mention increasing the cost of an already expensive process. As far as I know, no significant, valid scientific study has linked any vaccines to an increased incidence of autism. Despite this fact, many parents worry that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent.
Autism seems to have a genetic rather than an immune basis. In other words, genetic mutations and their subsequent expression provide the best explanation of why a particular child is autistic. The events that lead to an individual child developing autism probably existed before the child was even born. This latest study confirms that an unusual immune reaction to a vaccine does not explain what triggers autism in children. In my opinion, the most important thing a pediatrician does for the children he or she cares for is to administer vaccines, especially when they are very young and vulnerable to the horrible infectious diseases that can ravage their little bodies. I continue to urge my patients to vaccinate their children, and, fortunately, most do.
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“Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism,” by Frank DeStefano, MD, MPH, Cristofer S. Price, ScM, and Eric S. Weintraub, MPH, appears in The Journal of Pediatrics (www.jpeds.com), DOI 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.02.001, published by Elsevier.
Written by Dr. Paul Smolen May 2013