Friday, June 25, 2010

The MMR Vaccine vs Autism

By Susan Frances Bonner, author of Opening A Registered Nurses Eyes; A life Altering Journey Across North America


This topic has been an ongoing controversy since 1998, when a paper by Andrew Wakefield, was published by “The Lancent”.

“Twelve children with developmental disorders referred to the Royal Free Hospital in London. The paper described a collection of bowel symptoms said to be evidence of a possible novel syndrome that Wakefield would later call autistic enterocolitis, and recommended further study into the possible link between the condition and environmental triggers, such as the MMR vaccine.” (1)

Since then, there has been a fierce battle between the medical community, vaccine providers, parents and governments all across the globe. The data on this matter is so vast and so involved that the average parent cannot make an informed decision on whether to subject their child to this vaccine or not. And I, unfortunately, may not help as well. But let’s try and muddle through, starting with the birth and reasons for this vaccine.

The first measles vaccine was licensed for use in the U.S. in 1963. Today, measles vaccine is generally given in combination with mumps and rubella vaccines (MMR) or MMR combined with varicella (MMRV).

Originally, just one dose of MMR vaccine was recommended, and about 90-95% of children were protected. In 1989, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices changed the recommendation to two doses so that almost all children (99.7%) would be protected.(2)

Some of the complications of measles include; infections of the middle ear, pneumonia, croup, diarrhea, and Measles encephalitis (an infection of the brain) which occurs in 1 per 1,000 cases of natural measles, frequently resulting in permanent brain damage in the survivors.(2) You can see how serious this condition can be.

Since I was born just before 1963, I had to get my vaccine when I was a toddler. The recommendation for administering the vaccine is all infants 12 years old and older, and Autism is not diagnosed until after age two. An interesting time line if you are looking for a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism.

Now, I am not advocating that parents refrain from having their children vaccinated. I am just informing and letting you decide.
The prevailing medical thought is that the risks out way the side effects of any vaccine including the MMR vaccine. Measles used to be a serious problem in this country with most people getting the disease by the time they were 20 yrs of age. Now, due to the vaccine, the incident of measles in the United States is virtually zero. Measles is imported from other countries however. Begging the question, do we continue to be vigilant and keep requiring the vaccine or not?

Some of the complications of measles include; infections of the middle ear, pneumonia, croup, diarrhea, Measles encephalitis (an infection of the brain) which occurs in 1 per 1,000 cases of natural measles, frequently resulting in permanent brain damage in the survivors.(2) You can see how serious this condition can be.

Unfortunately, study after study, from many countries and agencies conflict in their conclusions and contradict each other. But if I had to make this decision for my child, I would muddle through them. I also suggest visiting the Autism support sites. Knowledge is power, and with a decision as important as whether to vaccinate your child or not requires a lot of knowledge.


References:

(1) http://www.autism-help.org/points-mmr-vaccine-autism.htm
(2) http://www.immunizationinfo.org/vaccines/measles