The AAP released a statement today to address the recent controversy on vaccines and autism. It began with a discussion on what autism is and what the theoretical causes may be, along with reassurance that there is no evidence of any connection between vaccines and autism. The policy went on to explain what mitochondrial disease is and how this may have played a role in the Hannah Polling case (see my previous blog – Larry King Asks). It concluded with a discussion on the overall safety and benefits of vaccines and urged parents to continue to vaccinate as usual.
I must admit that I agree with almost everything in this statement. The explanations it offers and the examples of how successful some vaccines have been is all accurate. However, I think there is just one little issue that should be raised to balance it all out. That is the fact that there IS SOME research that shows vaccines have some very rare but potentially serious side effects. And there is a bit of research that shows there may be a link between autism and vaccines in some children, as the Hannah Polling case reflects. Of course, the vast majority of research does NOT show a link, and this court case does not prove any link overall.
It is my belief that parents should be completely educated about vaccines, how they are made, what the possible side effects are, what the benefits are, and how common (or rare) and how serious (or mild) the diseases can be. Yes, vaccines are overall safe in most children, and the diseases can be very serious. And parents can make an educated decision about what they feel is the right course of action for their family. Parents who are worried about possible side effects and wish to vaccinate in a manner that may decrease the possibility of reactions should discuss an alternative vaccine approach with their doctor.
Click here http://www.aap.org/new/autisminfomain.html to read the AAP’s statement.