The Controversy of Autism and Vaccines
Recently, there has been a decline in children receiving vaccines due to the autism scare. The controversy linking autism and vaccines continues today even though the claim has been refuted by research while the benefits outweigh the risks. Vaccines not only protect children from life threatening diseases but build their immunity. Autism on the other hand is not a fatal disorder, it is a neurological disorder that regresses and can range from moderate to severe. There are many misunderstandings about what autism is and possible treatments when accurately diagnosed. Evidence has shown that the research presented that connects autism to vaccines was in fact fraud. A researcher by the name of Andrew Wakefield had altered results from his research to help support his accusations that immunizations are the cause of autism. He also, involved twelve colleagues and his institution for financial gain. He took "the medical histories of all twelve children to make the vaccine look culpable. Time lines, for example were [altered] to make it seem although autism like symptoms developed shortly after vaccinations, while in some problems developed before the vaccinations and in others months after" ("Autism Fraud" 5.) Autism is a regressive disorder that is a genetic mutation that alters a child's development usually showing signs from the age of eighteen months incidentally, in the middle of the vaccine schedule, produced by The Center of Diseases and Control (CDC.) "Some children with autism appear normal before the age one or two and then suddenly regress and lose language or social skills they had previously gained" (Signs of Autism 1.) Children receive a variety of immunizations from birth to the age of two, and then receive the final dose or boosters by age four. Vaccinations include: three doses of DTAP, IPV or polio, Hepatitis B, HIB (Haemophilus influenza type b ) and Rotavirus, which is oral, two doses of Hepatitis A and one does of MMR, and Varicella by the age two, and boosters include, DTAP, IPV, MMR and Varicella. If children are not protected from these diseases they can be life altering, and most times even fatal. Also, by vaccinating our children protects our community from spreading diseases. Polio for example is a paralytic disease, HIB is bacterial meningitis that causes death in mostly preschool aged children, and rubella or the German measles cause deafness, blindness, heart disease, and mental retardation. These are just a few of the diseases that immunizations protect against, and ensure the health of our community. So why would parents opt not to protect their children? It is obvious that the benefits tremendously outweigh the risks. Autism should not be an excuse for parents not to protect their children. A decision to vaccinate not only our children but ourselves as well is a decision to help protect the entire communities from diseases which are spread by person-to-person contact. By not vaccinating puts the individual and community at risk. When immunization programs achieve high levels of immunity or the "herd" immunity as scientists refer to that means "the indirect protection of a community, including unvaccinated individuals" (Statcher 6.) The probability that an infected person may spread the disease to a susceptible individual is greatly decreased. "Community immunity provides indirect protection to children who may be too young for certain vaccinations or have other health problems that prevent them from being immunized, yet are still susceptible to the disease" (Statcher 6.) According to the CDC research suggest that the benefits definitely over power the risk of receiving any vaccination. Recently, there have been "Pox parties" where parent believe in natural immunity and get together to expose their child intentionally to these diseases. Many parents keep blogs and web pages stating where in the country an outbreak is at and send tissues, candies, and other...
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