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[personal profile] rayjwinteraven
Having a son with Aspergers syndrome, maybe a daughter with it, maybe having it myself, isn't near the same as having a family member with low-functioning autism. However, I do feel I have a right to my opinions as long as I don't shove them down anyone's throat. With that in mind, it is in my opinion that vaccines are a good and essential thing for the community. I will discuss my thoughts, which may ramble, and I will strive to not disrespect anyone who chooses to not vaccinate.

In general, I believe that vaccines help prevent disease. In the UK, apparently, measles is on the rise again because of fear of vaccines causing autism. There have been more deaths. Not too far from where I live, pertussis is on the rise, and four years ago while I was pregnant with Fawn, rubella was running through a community not too far away, where vaccinations were being waived as a religious right.

It's hard to imagine being afraid for your baby, knowing that if you managed to get rubella since your blood titre is non-existent despite childhood vaccination that now your child has a pretty good chance of permanent disability or even death. I think to know what that fear is like, you have to be in that situation. I look down at my barren belly and the memory is pretty faint, but I know intellectually that I was very afraid. Maybe that's why it's so easy to dismiss the fear of malformed hearts and eyes and deafness that cannot be healed - because it's not a real fear unless you're there. Well, we're getting back there.

We had almost eliminated polio. Now, that's not a casual thing. I remember the man in the apartment building where I'd lived, hand twisted up like a goose head atop a craning neck, the exhausting limp to get down to the elevator and back, the scooter which made travel easier but could do nothing for the oral motor control and the poor gnarled hands. It's coming back in places, again because of fear of vaccines.

In some places of the world, there's fear that the vaccines are tainted with things like sterilization drugs. I can see that; paranoia doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you, and the only solution I know is to find trusted people to truly supervise the production.

Here, and in the UK, and in the U.S.A., the fear is that vaccination produces autism. 1 in 150 are on the spectrum now. The incidence is climbing - which would really be interesting if vaccinations cause autism spectrum disorders, because more and more people are avoiding vaccinations. All we need is one unvaccinated child with an autism spectrum disorder to disprove the entire causation theory.

http://www.chop.edu/consumer/jsp/division/generic.jsp?id=84662 seems to show fairly well that not receiving the MMR vaccine, at least, doesn't keep you from getting autism: "The percentage of children vaccinated was the same in children with autism as in other children in the North Thames region". http://photoninthedarkness.blogspot.com/2006/03/how-to-seek-and-not-find.html mentions a genetic disease that seems similar to autism, although I'm not sure it's the same. Interesting though that it doesn't appear to have been noted by someone doing a thorough study of all Amish children to show that not a one has autism. And http://www.pacificspirit.com/2006/11/21/mmr_and_autism mentions 'children who were diagnosed with autism before they were vaccinated'.

To be fair, there's also discussion that 'autism' is more than one thing. The spectrum is so very wide, with so many variations, and there are genetic studies happening which seem to have found markers for particular symptoms within autism. There's at least one mitochondrial disease which can be aggravated by the vaccine, to produce autism-like symptoms; perhaps other autism sub-sets respond to the environmental trigger of vaccination or even the stress of having something jabbed into your arm like that. And there are other reasons to not vaccinate.

However, it does not seem to me that vaccination has caused my son's symptoms, and it does not seem to me that vaccination is the only way people end up on the spectrum, and it DOES seem to me that vaccinating enough people provides 'herd immunity' so that a few people who don't vaccinate for other reasons may be protected from contracting life-threatening diseases. I don't care if the average person who chooses not to vaccinate figures they're all treatable - go tell that to the guy crippled from polio, tell that to the family of the West Virginia baby who died from pertussis in 2004, and the 197000 people who died from measles in 2007.

I chose to vaccinate my children, even knowing the hypothesis that vaccinations cause autism. I did it for them, I did it for me, I did it for the community. And I would do it again.
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