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Let me start off by saying up front that I'm not going to answer this question. And now I'm going to take 5 paragraphs to explain why.
Autism is the main worry that is on every parent's mind when it comes to deciding about vaccines. On one side we have 99% of the medical community and worldwide researchers reassuring us that vaccines have no link to autism. On the other side are tens of thousands of parents who have watched their children regress into autism between age 1 and 2. And these parents are becoming more and more vocal, like Jenny McCarthy.
What research are worried parents basing their beliefs on? Some research has shown that the measles virus in the MMR vaccine, which is given at age 1, may be one of the "triggers" that begins the cascade of intestinal inflammation that leads to brain inflammation and autism. In addition, environmental chemical exposures like pollution in air, food and water (and possibly the various chemicals in vaccines), as well as genetic susceptibilities and immune problems, may also play a role in autism.
The problem is, no mainstream researcher has yet to PROVE that vaccines are a contributor to autism. And because vaccines play an important role in preventing disease, we will need some pretty solid proof that vaccines contribute to autism before some will be taken off the market. Right now the Centers for Disease Control's official statement (paraphrased) is that autism is clearly on the rise, that there is not enough evidence to prove a link between autism and vaccines, and that further research is being done on the matter.
Honestly, I've read ALL the research, and both sides present good data and good arguments. I'm not sure who is right at this point. Until I see enough evidence that shows vaccines are linked to autism, I certainly am not going to tell anyone that vaccines contribute to autism. But at the same time I can't say for sure that vaccines absolutely do NOT play any role at all in contributing to autism.
So what should parents do in the meantime while this issue continues to be investigated? You have two choices. Either you continue vaccinating so your child has disease protection while this issue is studied, which will probably take at least a few years, OR you stop vaccinating (or be more choosy about vaccines) until further research gives us answers one way or the other. I can't tell you what to do because I don"t know. I encourage everyone to read all the research and educate themselves about vaccines and diseases and make their own decision.