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Vaccines Don't Cause Autism

Updated on August 23, 2017

The evidence is clear, vaccinations don't cause autism.

Some celebrities are speaking out against vaccines on the grounds that those celebrities believe vaccinations cause autism. They have created vast anti-vaccination lobbies and organizations to convince parents to stop getting their children vaccinated. The unfortunate thing about this is that many people are more apt to listen to a celebrity rather than to their family doctor. This has resulted in a wave of parents skipping vaccinations and, unsurprisingly, it has also resulted in a wave of deaths and illnesses preventable by current vaccination practices.

Vaccinations prevent horrible, sometimes fatal, diseases. There is a tiny danger present in vaccination but that danger is minute in comparison to the dangers to be found in skipping childhood vaccinations. Diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella, influenza, polio, and hepatitis kill and maim children.

This page investigates the dirty origin of the dangerous myth that vaccines cause autism.

photo by Leonardini

Please Read First

Please note that this page is not about all reasons parents may choose not to vaccinate their children. It is solely about the danger of people basing their decision not to vaccinate their children on the "vaccines cause autism" myth. It does not address any other reasons, many of which are rational and valid, for parents to choose to question vaccination practices.

While many parents may have valid reasons for choosing not to vaccinate, the "vaccines cause autism" myth has caused many other people to avoid vaccinating because they fear that getting their children vaccinated will cause their children to develop autism.

So please keep in mind while reading this page that it is not a listing of every cause people have for choosing not to vaccinate but it is about the exposure of a single irrational cause, one which has duped many into a decision they might otherwise not make.

photo by Michal Zacharzewski, SXC
photo by Michal Zacharzewski, SXC

Spreading the Myth

Anti-vaxxer celebrities have made the anti-vaccine lobby swell

A number of celebrities have bought into the myth that vaccinations cause autism. Unfortunately, they don't just base their own childcare information on that belief, they are spreading the autism/vaccine myth despite all evidence being to the contrary and despite the lives it is costing.

Celebrities Versus Your Pediatrician - Who knows best? Your family doctor or an anti-vaxxer celebrity?

While it's great that some celebrities decide to champion causes in support of sufferers of illnesses they can be a dangerous source of misinformation if they get their information wrong.

When making choices for the health of your child, whose opinion is more important, your pediatrician's or some celebrity's opinion?

Who do you listen to in regard to your child's health?

If you are thinking of not having your children vaccinated I suggest you investigate your own family tree. Look back one or two generations and count the children born versus the children who survived to adulthood. Almost every family lost children to diseases now preventable by vaccines. In my case, it was my eldest brother. My mother lost three siblings to childhood diseases. Why would anyone want to bring that child mortality rate back?

Are Celebrities Responsible for Deaths Caused By Misinformation They Spread?

Are people responsible for the information they spread? Are celebrities responsible if their bad advice causes deaths or injuries?

Are celebrities responsible for deaths caused by misinformation they spread?

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Dangers Presented By Measles

Just one disease childhood vaccinations prevent

While most children who contract measles in developed countries survive, as many as three out of every thousand children who contract measles will die directly from the disease. Up to 15% of people who contract measles will develop complications including (but not limited to) blindness, deafness, respiratory ailments, and conditions which could result in death at a later point in time.

While a child who gets measles has an 85% chance of recovering without severe consequences, that child may give the illness to others who may not be as lucky.

Fortunately, measles is a disease easily prevented by vaccination. Recent vaccination efforts have resulted in a 60% drop in yearly deaths from measles. However, measles still causes around 345,000 deaths worldwide each year, mostly in third world countries where vaccination is uncommon.

Unfortunately, many people have stopped having their children vaccinated due to misinformation that autism is caused by vaccinations. This endangers other children too young to be vaccinated yet, increasing the risk of measles in developed countries.

A Coincidence of Timing

Personally, I believe it's coincidence people see working when they see a connection between autism and vaccinations. Prior to the age a child gets his first set of vaccinations, very, very few cases of autism are diagnosed because the children have yet to reach the milestones autism tends to affect. An eight week old infant is unlikely to be diagnosed with autism because infants are all unable to communicate at that age.

Children are usually diagnosed with autism between the ages of three and five. Children get their first vaccinations before those ages and many get a cluster at around age four or five, prior to going to school. The three to five age group is usually when the symptoms of autism become most noticeable because normal three to five year old children are communicative. The autistic children don't present normally for milestones associated with that age group. Coincidentally, many of them have just gotten vaccines as this is the age at which many children begin preschool or get readied for kindergarten.

With or without vaccinations, children will be diagnosed at the age they fail to meet a normal developmental milestone.

Do Vaccines Cause Autism

image by Leonardini
image by Leonardini

The study suggesting autism might have been caused by vaccinations has been debunked. Its author has been shown to have had a financial interest in the outcome of the study and it has also been proven that his methodology was bizarre and unscientific. So do you still think vaccines cause autism?

Do vaccines cause autism?

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