Oh where to start. Really, people. OK, as I am a nurse you can all probably assume that I am in favor of childhood vaccines. I am in favor of adult vaccines. However, I would like to share why that is my position, professional health and social education notwithstanding. (Cheers to another list).
1. When children are not vaccinated, the diseases for which they could have been vaccinated reappear.
2. The diseases that reappear harm not only children, but the adults with whom they come in contact if that adult has either not been vaccinated or is no longer immune. This has the potential to equal widespread community illness.
3. The vaccines were developed because the harm to children from the illnesses were really bad. (research- and I don't mean just google- Iron Lung and a description of death from HiB meningitis if you don't believe me)
4. We have eradicated smallpox due to mass immunizations. If you have any question about whether this is a good thing, please investigate death from smallpox. Once you have done that, spend a few quiet moments imagining what the situation would be if clusters of well-meaning yet misled parents did not do this for their children.
5. Thimerosol was eliminated from vaccines in 2001. It is currently 2009.
6. The increased prevalence of autism does not correspond to the prevalence of children receiving immunizations. If one caused the other, a direct correlation would be witnessed.
7. I get that parents are concerned about autism. I cannot imagine what that would be like. I am blessed to have three healthy children...who have all been vaccinated. The problem is that when we pour energy into a culprit(vaccines) that lacks scientific backing as a causative agent for autism we neglect determining and eliminating a true cause. I also get that parents who are dealing with a situation such as autism need some control over an illness that cannot be explained. Blaming it on MMR gives an ounce of control- I would probably be inclined to feel the same way. I would also hope that someone like me would talk me out of it.
8. If you are in the No Vaccines group because of autism fears, you are being prayed upon by emotion. If you were having surgery, which procedure would you choose- the one that the website with undetermined credentials touted as best and safest because everyone said so or the one through which many patients before you had successfully gone with positive,documented results? I am picking a surgeon with proof of a high success rate.
9. Could it possibly, maybe be that there are correlating variables between vaccines and autism, but not causative variables? Let's see, autism symptoms typically surface between 18 and 24 months. Vaccines are also during this time. But so are diapers. Hmmm....perhaps we ought to write Huggies. My point is that I would imagine parents are desperate and scared. And we all know fear is one of the greatest motivators of all times. Just think Salem Witch Trials. To them, at the time, it probably made perfect sense.
10. Or could it possibly be that, as with many medical conditions, diseases, etc, recognition and diagnosis has improved to the point that we are now able to give a name to the condition that is autism that in previous years would have otherwise gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed? Probably. This is the case with heart disease, cancer, mental illness... the list goes on. The list, in fact, extends to social issues that were not recognized years ago but were present.
11. Just for fun, let's say the 'problem' was with the strain of weakened illness in the vaccine. If so, it would stand to reason that other illnesses could potentially invoke negative consequences, and that individuals infected with, rather than vaccinated with, say diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis, who then recovered would also stand as likely a chance of exhibiting autistic symptoms. We are all infected with, and produce immune responses to, many illnesses daily. This is how our bodies work. This is how immunizations work. They help the body help itself.
12. Don't take my word for it. Take it upon yourself to stay above the fear and hype. Research some pediatric medical journals. Read into the physiological process that is the immune response. Investigate, again from credible sources, the effects of widespread illness on societies and economies.
13. Make an educated and responsible decision that benefits children and our society.