Revisiting the Vaccine/Autism Myth

Arstechnica, a favorite site of mine, links to a recent publication that looks at the history behind the mercury/vaccine/autism so-called war. The Ars article also provides a few insights of its own.

I’ve written before about my take on the fear people have about vaccines causing autism. I’ve also written about how we must be savvy media consumers, particularly when the media content pertains to our health.  It seems I need to eat some crow, as my original post shows I fell into the trap that many people did – Wakefield’s work was not initially related to mercury concerns in vaccines, and hence autism.

So today I’m just re-iterating my belief that vaccines are still a good idea for our children. The PLoS Biology article is a nice summary of how things went wrong, and hopefully we can begin to dispel myths and get back to scientific facts. it’s hard when our emotions and, more importantly, our children’s safety are involved. But we owe it to ourselves, our children, and our community to get the facts before making decisions that affect us all.

The recent H1N1 scare should certainly make parent’s ears perk up when combined with statements such as

Last year in Minnesota, five children contracted Hib, the most common cause of meningitis in young children before the vaccine was developed in 1993. Three of the children, including a 7-month-old who died, hadn’t received Hib vaccines because their parents either refused or delayed vaccination.

Preventable death and disease.  The H1N1 lesson should be that we are succeptible to disease, and that we should prepare ourselves and our community as much as possible ahead of time.  Vaccines help us do that.

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