Sunday, June 21, 2009


So this could be a risky post...but I'm throwing it out there! :-)

I know several families who, after getting their children vaccinated, developed symptoms that they later identified as being on the autism spectrum. As a parent this frightens me. When I tried talking to our pediatrician about my concerns he practically got irate with me explaining how the media is totally the cause of the hype (which believe me, I get). After listening to his long diatribe, he handed me a sheet of paper basically telling me that I'd have to leave his practice if I chose to not immunize my children. He also said, "To me, it is worth it to vaccinate and take the chance of the 5% of children who end up on the autism spectrum, compared to an epidemic of measles, rubella or any of the other diseases that affect children and could lead to permanent damage or death." Ummmm...I was just asking a simple question. I guess I can understand his defensiveness...I'm sure he's answering these kinds of questions on a daily basis.

On the other hand. Look at all the diseases that have been prevented! These diseases, like the measles, could otherwise be very deadly for our children. And, because parents are more and more deciding to not vaccinate their children, we are seeing a come back of a few of those diseases. Scary.

The media is telling you some vaccines lead to autism. The Dr. is telling you that it's preventing diseases that they would otherwise catch without the shot. AHHHHHHHH! I wish there was a definite answer.

Are the vaccines really causing Autism? Or, are we just diagnosing it more?

I have chosen to vaccinate my kids, but I totally feel as if I'm playing Russian Roulette every time. I basically pray that this shot won't be the one that sends them over the edge. Am I the only one who feels this way?


Craig said...

There are many peer reviewed, double blind, case controlled studies that indicate that MMR vaccination is in no way associated with an increased risk of autism in children.

So, what about the media hype and testimonials? Autism usually first appears during infancy or early childhood. A parent that notices abnormal behavior from their child will usually try to link this to a recent event that may have caused the symptoms (ie; "did I drop my baby?", "did I feed him something different?"). More often than not, the parent will link this to the scheduled vaccination that was most recently given. They will then hire a lawyer, write a book, and tell their sob story on Oprah.

That's my two cents. I might be able to scrounge up some research articles for you if you're interested in reading further.

...Then again, you might not want to believe me. Since I'm a doctor I'm probably part of the cover up conspiracy.... :)

Heather said...

No, you're not the only one out there who questions all that. I think it's terrible that you can't ask a question of your doctor without him getting all defensive and telling you you'd have to leave his practice if you decide against what he advises! As a parent, how can you feel comfortable asking future questions about other health concerns? We were seeing a doctor like that for a while and finally got fed up with feeling like we had to walk on egg shells every time around her. Now we take the girls to a different doctor in the same practice. He still has his own opinions about what he thinks is best, but he explains things much more objectionally, and doesn't make you feel like a bloomin' idiot if you don't take his advice.

As for side effects of vaccines, we're pretty sure Ashlyn developed a light case of the chicken pox after receiving the vaccine for it. Her symptoms and spots were classic chicken pox symptoms, and the timeing was exactly what I learned the incubation period was. We're glad it wasn't more serious, but it bothered us to think the vaccine had caused it.

Then there's the thimerosal/mercury debate. They said that was bad and that was causing autism, so we were told that was removed from all vaccines. But that's not true. It's still in the flu shot, which you're told to give your child every year--that's more often than all the other vaccines they get just a few times as babies. I kept bugging my doctor's office this past winter about getting preservative free flu shots, and what a pain that was!

And finally, there was a big outbreak of one of those diseases (measles or rubella maybe?) last year in the US, and I believe over 60% of the kids who got sick had been vaccinated. So if these vaccines are so great, then why did so many vaccinated kids get sick? The doctors and media like to blame it all on the parents who didn't get their kids immunized, but obviously there's more to it than that.

OK, I think that's enough for now. Just use the good head God gave you and try to make the best decisions you can.

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

It IS scary - but then again, I think so much of what we deal with as parents is. What I mean is that you can find conflicting opinions on everything, from vaccinations to feeding to potty training to whatever! It makes it hard to know what to do, much less to feel confident in that decision once you've made it!

I think doctors DO get bombarded by the "autism question." I know that a few times we've mentioned behaviors to our doctor that seem weird to us (not bad, just unusual - and possibly only unusual TO US because we've never had a kid before!), and she automatically goes into her, "This behavior is completely normal and does not indicate that she has autism. I'm not promising she won't develop anything in the future, but for now she's totally normal." And we never even SAID the word "autism"!!

haverlee said...

I just chose, what in my mind, was a safer route. I didn't start vaccinating Bennett until he turned 6 mos. old and he only gets one shot at a time. I have a great book written by a Doctor, called "Childhood Vaccinations" by Lauren Feder. Its short and succinct and very informative and explores both the positives and negatives of every single vaccine. I basically followed her recommendations and have felt extremely confident with my decision. So far, all of the shots he's gotten have been for 2 different types of vaccines which she deemed the most important of any of them.
I think that's what you need to consider- is making sure you're making a choice that you feel 100% confident in! (and maybe that's not possible, but you know what I mean. I don't think you should go through life with all of those doubts!)
I take Bennett to a great pediatrician who lets parents choose their own vaccine schedule (hard to find those Dr.'s) so that, like I said, you don't have to constantly be filled with doubt and worry! I'm going to do the exact same thing with this next baby. Hope that helps, Nikki! Let me know if you want her name.

Heather said...

I would be interested in knowing that doctor's name. Do they also do more wholistic-type treatments instead of just always prescribing drugs? I would like to find a doctor who doesn't look at me sideways when he finds out I take my kids to a chiropractor to help with ear infections.

haverlee said...

In case Heather checks back (or Nikki, you could tell her the info I gave you), I take my child to Dr. Stoll at the Mercy West Pediatric Clinic in Clive. 222-7337Unfortunately, no, I haven't ever been offered any holistic treatments and would be interested in a pediatriciatn like that because I, too, take my child to the chiropractor way more often than the Doctor!

emily anderson said...

we have chosen not to vaccinate our littles and i feel like i'm playing the russion roulette as well.

it's such a hard decision, and one that each family needs to make based on their own feelings.
if they would just make the shots safe, then everything would be fine.

Craig said...

Nikki, I don't know if you saw the story that broke on the news the other day about this. Turns out the original research that indicated that there might be a link was an elaborate hoax. A lawyer paid off the lead researcher to make it look like there was a correlation.

This confirms what everyone in the medical field has known for years; that there is absolutely no risk of autism with these vaccines.

Nikki said...

Wow, I didn't realize this post was still being read! I also want to say 'Thank You' to everyone for being so respectful in stating their view and presenting the facts they are aware of! It's really wonderful to dialogue and learn from each other. I thought I would follow up and update you all in the decisions my husband and I made after I published this post over a year ago:

We chose to part ways with our pediatrician (he's really wonderful and I have so much respect for him). We now go to a pediatrician who is allowing us to space out our children's vaccines (one at a time) and decline vaccines we do not feel comfortable with. We did research (Dr. Sears vaccine book and Lauren Feder's book) and after much debate, we are very confident in the choice we made.

Thank you all for your input!!! If you choose to add to the conversation, please do!