Do vaccinations cause Autism?

The National Autistic Society posted a link on their Facebook page today from the Daily Mail about the links between major childhood vaccinations and autism/ asd.

I’m sure most of you can remember the media storm, and subsequent panic from parents in the late 90’s/ early 00’s when a study was released linking the MMR vaccine to Autism. This lead to a large number of parents deciding against vaccinating their children with the MMR. The study has since been withdrawn, and the findings have been discredited.

This has not stopped the great debate, however.

I was a child when the study was released, I remember it being on the news a lot. I also remember them saying that the study was false, and thought that was the end of it. I gave the matter no more thought until I had my own children, in fact, I didn’t even know the debate was still raging, until my son was of the age to get his first vaccination.

Like most parents, I wanted to know what the vaccination process would be like. When I say that, I’m talking about on the day, for example, will there be any side effects, should I give him calpol afterwards, stuff like that. I used to read a lot of parenting forums when Neil was born, and so that was my first place to turn when I had questions.

I asked for vaccination advice, and was surprised and shocked with some of the replies I received. There were a lot of people advising about temperatures, giving calpol, their children being a bit ‘off’ for a few days. And then there were some replies from people saying they were against the vaccination programme and so had no advice to give. Finally, there was a small group of people who seemed to be on some sort of anti vaccination crusade, and it scared me a little. I was told I was poisoning my child, I was a bad mother, I should be researching the vaccinations before willingly “filling my child with all kinds of shit”.

Some of the responses were a bit extreme, I thought. I decided to go ahead with the vaccinations, despite the concerns of some parents. I also got my daughter vaccinated too, when the time came.

For me, I believe the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh the risks, and that’s why I chose to go ahead.

Fast forward 5 years, and we are on the verge of receiving a diagnosis of ASD for my son.I do not for one second regret giving him the MMR, or any other jab, for that matter. I don’t believe the link, but if he is the way he is due to some vaccine then so be it. I love him the way he is, autism and all.

The report on the Daily Mail today stated that a large study carried out by the university of Sydney, involving over 1 million children, had found no link between commonly given vaccines and autism. The vaccines they talk about in the study are for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

The comments on both the NAS post, and the Daily Mail article got pretty heated. A lot of people strongly for and against vaccinations, and I think it’s something that is always going to cause arguments. Some people seem to say that their child was developing as they should and deteriorated quickly after receiving the vaccination. I’m not a medical professional, so I can’t really comment on this, or the reasons why that would happen.

I don’t personally believe that my sons ASD had anything to do with his MMR, his Dad has very strong traits which went undiagnosed as a child, so for us it has to be genetic.

I did notice one or two people talking about how they used to have a perfect child, until they had a vaccination. I don’t understand how you can say your child, regardless of the problems they may be facing, is not perfect? My sons ASD does not affect how perfect he is to me. He is amazing, and I wouldn’t change him for the world

Someone commenting on the DM website even calls Tony Blair a baby killer for backing the MMR.

Now, hold on a seccond, Autism is not a major cause of deaths in children. Measles and diphtheria however, are.

The vaccinations given to us as children have almost eradicated most major life threatening childhood diseases. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have an autistic child than a dead child. I’m sorry if I’m a bit blunt there but it’s true.

Most people probably don’t know much about things like measles, diphtheria and rubella, but as more and more parents join the anti vaccination camp, we will start to see cases of such things rising. Rubella, which usually quite a mild infection for a child, can cause serious issues if a pregnant women becomes infected, including miscarriage, and brain damage to the unborn child.

Before a vaccination for diphtheria was introduced in the 40’s, is was one of the major causes of infant death in the UK. The NHS website reports that there was a diphtheria epidemic in the ‘countries of the former Soviet Union between 1990 and 1998. It resulted in 157,000 cases and 5,000 deaths.’, which was due to low numbers of people taking up the vaccine.

Is this the risk you want to take for your children?

My son may have his struggles, but he has his health and his life, and that’s the most important thing to me.
How do you feel about this? Did you decide not to vaccinate your children, and if so what were your reasons for this?

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  • Reply there and back again... May 20, 2014 at 7:06 am

    I did vax but I also did a lot of reading before I made that decision, I found it a minefield, in the end we decided to go ahead and that's just our decision, I find the debate itself necessary but some of the responses are very extreme and in some cases very personal about something that should be a personal opinion, well done on raising this topic in such a sensitive way!

    • Reply Lauren May 20, 2014 at 10:53 pm

      It is a minefield, and it's difficult to wade through page after page, trying to work out what is and isn't true!

  • Reply OneDad3Girls May 20, 2014 at 10:09 am

    We got the girls vaccinated, mainly it was just what we felt was right. Trying to read all the pros and cons was just too much of a minefield.

    • Reply Lauren May 20, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Yes it's a total minefield, there's so much conflicting 'advice' from both sides!

  • Reply Kirsty Phillipson-Lowe May 20, 2014 at 11:43 am

    All of mine have been vaccinated. I honestly feel that if they were not safe they wouldn't be given x

    • Reply Lauren May 20, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Yes I agree, and if there are even slight risks of anything, the benefits far outweigh them.

  • Reply Californian Mum in London May 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Both of mine have had their vaccinations. Personally, I could not have skipped them and just hoped that my kids did not contract measles and die.

    • Reply Lauren May 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Absolutely, I totally agree, I wouldn't take that risk!

  • Reply Anonymous May 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    To be honest it seems crazy that people even consider not giving them considering all research out there points to there being no risk and the only ones that argue against it are those cooky conspiracy theorist types.

    • Reply Lauren May 20, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      I find it hard to understand too, I never once considered anything other than vaccinating.

  • Reply Boo Roo and Tigger Too May 20, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I believe in vaccinations, and never for one minute considered not giving any to my children. There will always be the argument for or against them but by not having them done are we not exposing our children to further risk of health concerns?

  • Reply Carly Markham May 20, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Both mine are given vaccinations and I willingly take vaccinations for most things myself if offered like you said I would rather a child with autism than watch them critically ill with a deadly disease any day. I decided I wouldn't forgive myself if my kids got ill and I could have prevented it so it was a no brainer for me x

    • Reply Lauren May 20, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      A total no brainer, I struggle to see it any other way!

  • Reply mami2five May 20, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    I have vaccinated all of mine, never even considered not doing it even though 13 years ago when E&Ff were babies was when the big blow up about the MMR was happening. I remember watching a woman on the news actually say she would rather her child be blind or dead than have autism. I almost threw the remote at the TV!
    The problem with ASD is that it typically starts showing signs around the same time as the MMR vaccine is given. Yes the children probably were developing as they should before then but as far as I'm concerned would have started having symptoms anyway. And you are right, all children are perfect, they may not all be the same but still perfect in their own ways.
    I live in an area that has seen mass outbreaks of rubella, measles and even mumps to a lesser degree in the last 18 months, I'm happy knowing that even if my children do get one of these diseases(which is still possible), they will not get such a bad case.

  • Reply Kizzy May 21, 2014 at 5:47 am

    I was in two minds about giving it to my eldest and lots of friends did the single vaccine route but I went ahead and he has been fine. Great post for a great view point.

  • Reply Clare Nicholas May 21, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Both of mine were vaccinated and I never once thought about not doing so. Its a no brainer really I would much rather there were kept immune from possibly life threatening illnesses

  • Reply Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) May 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Really interesting post, we went with it because as far as I could tell there was no evidence to suggest a link and I think the risk of a child dying from contracting a disease (particularly a preventable one) is much scarier than the risk of ASD or Autism. Great post 🙂 xx #mmwbh

  • Reply Kathryn Grant May 21, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Great post, written from a really interesting viewpoint as the mum of a child facing an ASD diagnosis. Well done for reading all the commentary! I completely agree – the risks of further measles outbreaks are far greater than any concocted link to autism. I'm shocked that people can choose not to vaccinate, really, as they put all of us at risk (including, for example, pregnant ladies and foetuses). That may be extreme, and I know choice and freedom are incredibly important in our world, but sometimes we have to impose rules for the good of everyone, especially those who can't choose for themselves.
    (Bumps & Grind x)

  • Reply Colette B May 22, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    What a hugely important post! Vaccinations were a huge source of debate in our household – not because of the "risk" of Autism but more because my husband had done lots of research and was concerned about the chemicals. He felt I was too trusting, I felt he was too cynical. In the end our children each had their MMR but the compromise was that they had it later and not in conjunction with other vaccinations to avoid "toxic load"

  • Reply Super Busy Mum May 27, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    What a great post and I will admit I am one of those parents questioning "do they REALLY have to be vaccinatted", I mean….really have to be? As I don't think they do. Perhaps I am wrong, but those are my thoughts. Although in saying that I have had each of them vax'ed but because my partner have urged the issue.

    Amazing post hun, thanks so much for linking it up with #MMWBH xx

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