Since an Italian court has awarded parents of an autistic child damages for a vaccination possibly resulting in the Autism symptoms, the alleged link between Autism and vaccines has again been under debate.
There is no study that links Autism to vaccinations. The correlation is generally attributed to a few unfortunate coincidences. First, Autism symptoms are traditionally spotted at about the time most children finish their vaccination schedule. More recently, studies have been started that will help identify Autism symptoms at birth, which would concretely prove or disprove a connection to vaccines. Even without the conclusion to these studies, the increased awareness of many parents is already leaning to a quicker spotting of Autism symptoms (delayed speech development, social interactions…).
Second, as vaccines have developed, so has psychiatry. Over the last few decades, when all school age children were receiving all key vaccines from polio, to MMR, to pertussis, psychiatrists have been expanding definitions of mental states like autism, and more parents have been listening—not just identifying Autism symptoms, but symptoms of ADD/ADHD, leading to more trips to the doctor and a hefty amount of medication.
Is there any reason to suppose a link between vaccines and Autism?
You know what has been identified as causing Autism symptoms? Rubella. Rubella is vaccinated against in childhood by the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine. Also known as German Measles, Rubella is typically a mild disease but can have more severe symptoms in adults.
For pregnant women without immunity, catchin Rubella means a 1 in 5 risk of miscarriage/stillbirth, and numerous problems for the new born. It’s why rubella is a worthwhile vaccine—it saves about 50,000 newborns yearly (actually, that number should be higher based on the increase in population!). Besides Autism, mental retardation is a real risk.
Since there may be a link between Rubella and Autism, some have speculated that the MMR vaccine, which contains liver but mild or harmless version of the viruses, may also be linked to Autism. Again, there is no evidence to support this.
If there were any truth to it, chances are it would only be kids who have a strong susceptibility to Autism symptoms that are effected—but they’d still be avoiding more severe complications, and there’d likely be less susceptible kids who never developed Autism symptoms because the vaccine is far more mild than the risk of catching Rubella during infancy! (Not to mention the side-effects of Mumps and Measles!). Again, this is all speculation based on IF there was even a shred of truth!
What do you think about the MMR Vaccine? Do you have stories about kids who developed Autism symptoms following a shot?