I recently shared an article I wrote covering what you need to know about vaccines. Understandably, it sparked quite a passionate discussion and I want to thank you all for the excellent debate. I want my platform to be a forum where parents are encouraged to dialogue about and discuss important parenting issues and we must never shut one another down. I would ask that everyone who has something to add to the discussion, do so in a respectful manner.
I would like to offer a bit of follow-up. My position as a pediatrician has always been to advocate for parents. You are in charge of your child’s health, and if parents in my practice choose not to vaccinate, I respect their opinions. However, in many pediatric practices across the country, this is not the case.
My position on vaccinations is not based solely on experience, but on scientific evidence. When you read articles, I encourage you to always question the source. Much of what is written about vaccines on the internet is anecdotal and fear-based, and this never serves your children well.
A common argument against vaccines is that they are connected to autism. However, the link between vaccines and autism has been clearly debunked. Many disagree because there are far too many bloggers and writers on autism, who, while well-intentioned, fail to make sound, scientific arguments.
The team, led by Andrew Wakefield, who cited the original connection between MMR (the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine) and autism has rescinded its original findings because they realized that they jumped to conclusions. In 1998, an article in the medical journal The Lancet published the “connection” Wakefield and 12 others said they found and how it was based on very soft evidence.
This piece in the British Medical Journal further explains: “Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent.”
Sadly, this team prompted widespread fear and promulgated false information. Now, people post stories about their child, or a child they know, who “got autism” from a vaccination. But anecdotal stories are not evidence. They may very well be coincidental.