Photo by Flower_Mom
Vaccines. Autism. The two always seem to go hand in hand. In newspapers. In conversations. On talk shows. People in the "pro-vaccine" camp seem to think that the only reason parents have for not vaccinating their children (or choosing just a few) is because they're afraid that vaccines cause autism. The thinking seems to go "if we could just convince non-vaccinators that vaccines don't cause autism, then everyone would vaccinate."
I'm not so sure that's true.
I went to a panel discussion on vaccines last week, and parents voiced all kinds of concerns that had nothing to do with autism: the potentially toxic ingredients in vaccines (aluminum, formaldehyde, and animal cells to name a few); the ever-increasing number of vaccines (the thinking goes, "I had one-fifth of the vaccines my kid is supposed to get and I'm fine); vaccines that seem unnecessary (Hepatitis B for newborns was the biggie here), distrust of pharmaceutical companies; and more.
Still, fear of autism is one reason some parents choose not to vaccinate. Some say that's no longer a "legitimate" fear.
Last year, it was discovered that Andrew Wakefield, the doctor whose study sparked the scare over the safety of the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine for children, fixed his data, which created the appearance of a possible link with autism.
Earlier this week, The Lancet, the British medical journal that published Wakefield's study, formally retracted it and said it never should have published the research linking the MMR vaccine to autism.
Britain's General Medical Council ruled that Wakefield had shown a "callous disregard" for the children used in his study and acted unethically. Wakefield faces losing his license to practice medicine.
I'm curious: If you are a non-vaccinator is "fear of autism" your only reason for not vaccinating? If so, has the retraction of the study linking the MMR vaccine to autism convinced you that it's safe to vaccinate your children? What are the reasons you don't vaccinate?