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Many well designed studies have shown that there is no association between vaccines and the development of autism.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM), an independent, evidence-based scientific organization recognized worldwide for excellence in research and dedication to truth and facts, took on the task of evaluating all of the studies and determining whether there was evidence for causation of autism and vaccines. There is NO link between a child receiving vaccines and autism.
It can be confusing for parents when a child is diagnosed with autism in early childhood, at a time when many vaccines are given. But this is the time that most cases of autism are diagnosed. Vaccine safety continues to be carefully monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The CDC has a detailed review of vaccine safety history.
Why risk potential death or serious physical harm from diseases prevented by vaccines in fear of autism, when autism is not caused by vaccines?
A variety of organizations monitor the ongoing safety of old and new vaccines. These include the Vaccine Data Link (a national collaboration) and the Brighton Collaboration (a group of international organizations). If even a minor and certainly any serious side effect is observed, the groups evaluate evidence to see if a vaccine is responsible and action is taken for the safety of the public. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides this helpful summary of the latest vaccine safety research. This is another link from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to extensive studies conducted showing no causal link.
All medications have side effects that should be considered before use. When the risks are less than the benefits then that drug is used. So it is with vaccines. Almost uniformly the major side effects of vaccines are local and related to injection of the vaccine including local pain and sometimes swelling or fever.
Families choosing to not vaccinate their children have caused a large increase in serious diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough, which can result in pneumonia, seizures, brain damage or death. Outbreaks over the last several years in the U.S. started with unvaccinated people which can quickly spread to others who are not vaccinated, causing devastating illness and risk death.
For vaccines to remain effective, everyone in a region must get the vaccine to provide what is called “herd immunity” effect. This protects infants who are too young to be vaccinated or have not reached the age to be fully vaccinated as well as the few children and adults with weakened immune systems or specific diseases that prevent them from getting vaccines.
So what does cause autism? Autism is a complex spectrum. The latest research explores a combination of developmental, genetic and environmental components. To find out more visit the CDC autism site.
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