When my daughter underwent ureter operation, Mom met her former officemate who is a wife of a pediatrician. They talked and Mom told me that her former officemate mentioned about vaccination being linked to autism in children. I was really surprised and at the same time alarmed because since birth, my daughter is complete with vaccination that is appropriate for her age because we want our daughter to be protected from diseases that are preventable through vaccines. After knowing it, I had second thoughts of continuing some of the vaccinations that Keona has not been given yet. The thought of possible autism of my child through vaccines is really scaring me off. This made me remember also my friend Roy, whose son never had a single vaccine because his wife is not in favor of it. The family of Roy's wife were not immunized with any vaccines and yet they grow up healthy so they are doing the same for their son.
But this week, the highly reputable medical journal The Lancet withdraw the 1998 study that linked vaccination to autism. The study, led by Andrew Wakefield, has been viewed as the cornerstone research for those parents and activists who believe inoculations can cause or spur on autism in children.
The Lancet stated decisively, "We fully retract this paper from the published record."The publishers are not alone in dismissing the research or Wakefield himself. In fact, ten of the thirteen co-authors of that 1998 study wrote a "retraction of interpretation" in 2004.Still, there will be those who continue to defend Wakefield and the research that has been called into question. The study suggested that there may be a link between the MMR triple-vaccination that helps prevent measles, mumps, and rubella and the development of autism. This spurred a trend among parents in the United States, England, Canada, and New Zealand to opt out or reduce the number of vaccinations their children were given. The impact continued with the rise of measles in some areas and much debate about whether or not vaccines are healthy for young children.
I will break here to point out that I personally have a lot of trouble with the anti-vaccination movement. I fully support research and funding directed to find a cure for autism. Families who are caring for children with autism or any other spectrum disorder clearly have to find the strategies, therapies, and support that best suits their kids, their lives, and their beliefs. I respect that. But I also believe that the scare tactics some people in the anti-vaccination movement have used can be dangerous to many children who are at risk for developing diseases that can be prevented with the medical resources we now have.