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Do You Believe in an Autism/Vaccine Link?

Some Connecticut parents worry of a link between vaccines and autism, though no evidence supports such a theory, according to several experts.

Do You Believe in an Autism/Vaccine Link?


Some of the 1,056 Connecticut children vaccination exemptions from last year were related to parental worry that these vaccines could be linked to autism and other health problems in children,  according to the Associated Press.

Exemptions Increase by 127 Percent

The number of children exempted from vaccines in 2011 is an increase of 127 percent from 2003, when the state recorded 465 such exemptions.

Some doctors in Connecticut have expressed concern about the rise in exemptions.

"If you have more and more kids not getting vaccinated, then you have more and more of a pool for illness to take hold," said Dr. Robert Chessin, a pediatrician at Pediatric Healthcare Associates in Bridgeport and Shelton.

What do you think?

A number of Milford Patch users weighed in on the topic on our Facebook page: "NO," wrote Shelley Holly Moyher. "People who are not vaccinating their kids are putting other kids and adults at risk..."

Maria Fitzgerald agreed: "No, it has been well documented that there is no connection between vaccines and autism."

'No Difference'

According to research findings by Dr. Youta Uno of the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, "Each study demonstrated no differences between ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) cases and controls, failing to support a conclusion that immunization using MMR (Measles, Mumps,. & Rubella vaccines) increases the risk of ASD onset." 

The Wakefield Study

Dr. Andrew Wakefield was stripped of his British medical license after pubishing a study linking autism to childhood vaccines in 1998, according to CNN.

Other studies were unable to reproduce Wakefield's results and an investigation into his findings allegedly discovered that Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients in his study.

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Max Wiznitzer noted, "Unfortunately, (Wakefield's) core group of supporters is not going to let the facts dissuade their beliefs that MMR causes autism."

Suzanne Letso, director of the Connecticut Center for Child Development, a non-profit school in Milford for children with autism noted in a 2011 Hartford Courant piece about Wakefield, "The people who are already believing that this has had an effect aren't going to be dissuaded by this," Letso said.

Generation Rescue

Generation Rescue, an organization formed by actress/activist Jenny McCarthy has expressed concern about the possible link between autism and vaccination, discussing a vaccine court created by the U.S. government in 1986:

In the "Vaccine Court," the burden of proof lays squarely on the claimant. In other words, a family must show a clear causal connection between a vaccination and its adverse effects.

The piece continues: 

But the autism community has still persevered, and compelled the court to acknowledge the link between their children’s autism diagnoses and vaccinations’ environmental triggers.

Generation Rescue's website does not immediately cite sources for this information.

'Alleged Ties'

In an editorial for Modern Health Care, David May wrote:

Ongoing fears over the alleged ties between childhood immunizations and the incidence of autism also play into the growing numbers of vaccination opt-outs—despite study after study showing no linkage and discrediting previous claims.

In closing, May added, "Even when we're not talking specifically about needles and vaccines, trust in science still provides the best chance to make progress in solving our problems."

Do you think that fears about vaccination links to autism and other health problems is unfounded? Or has not enough research been done to make a proper assessment?

Take our poll and let us know what you think.

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