Episode 4 – Decisions
This week’s episode of pregnant in heels featured the very emotionally charged subject of vaccinations. I have to admit I often hesitate to write about the subject for fear of upsetting people and as you all know that’s just not my usual style! I know those that are anti-vaccine come from a very good place but as you saw from the show I completely disagree with them and stand firm on the fact that with the evidence we have today, the only right choice is to go ahead with vaccines.
As I write those words I know I am going to take my fair share of criticisms for them as this is one of those issues that people seem to fall very definitely and passionately on one side or the other. It is after all a life and death issue. I understand the fear that vaccines have been linked with autism but the scientific research is not there to back this up. The research by Andrew Wakefield from 1998 linking MMR vaccine to autism that caught so much media and public attention was proven fraudulent and his medical license was revoked and his studies results have never been replicated. As reported in the NY Times.
Despite the research linking vaccines to autism being thrown out by the scientific community it has so penetrated our culture that even I find myself having fears when I go to have my children vaccinated. I know logically this is crazy but as a mother I am always sensitive to claims being made however unfounded they may be. However, also as a mother I must make the best and most informed decision for my children (and those in the population that may be affected by this decision) that I can, with the information at hand.
I also want to be sensitive to those who have children with autism and point out that the more vaccinations are blamed the less money and focus is put on finding the real cause, and that is a tragedy. A very dear friend of mine has dedicated her life’s work to researching and helping autistic children. The false claims linking autism and vaccinations have set her and people in her field back years when it comes to being able to move forward with new research.
It is very easy these days to be an inch deep and a mile wide especially with small tidbits of information on the internet. But I want to encourage everyone to try and avoid this especially when it comes to issues as serious as this. And before we start preaching something a friend of a friend said happened we should really look into the issue and consult experts in the field.
Today we don’t have that evidence but we do know vaccinations prevent against severely disabling and deadly diseases. So I ask you, what decision will you make? For me, I choose to vaccinate. xRosie
I have also included some information below from MomPrep Expert and Pediatrician Dr. Jen Canter about modifying vaccines.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and I (Dr. Jen) do not recommend any modification of the current vaccination schedule. In light of significant buzz about potential vaccine connections to autism and other medical and developmental issues, I want to share some important facts which support why the current schedule is best for your little ones.
There is no scientific evidence that suggests altering the vaccination schedule has any medical or developmental benefits for babies and children.
- You should wait at least a month between the schedule vaccine doses, so be sure to tell your doctor if your child receives a vaccine elsewhere. This is accounted for on the current AAP schedule.
- Side effects are no greater with multiple vaccines are given together vs. vaccines that are given individually.
- There is another myth linking the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine with unexpected infant death (SIDS). Because the first vaccine against these diseases coincides with the peak of SIDS related deaths (2 months), it is most statistically probable for some SIDS deaths to occur in this age group. There is no scientific evidence linking the DTP vaccine with SIDS.
- There is concern that thimerosal-containing vaccines are the cause of a number of neurologic and developmental disorders. Since the end of 2001, most of the vaccines recommended by the AAP are available in thimerosal-free formulations and some vaccines, such as the MMR, polio, and chickenpox vaccines, have never contained thimerosal.
- There is no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between multiple vaccines and a greater risk of infections, immune disorders or developmental delays.
- A panel of experts convened by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2000 concluded in its report that “separate administration of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines to children provides no benefit over administration of the combination MMR vaccine and would result in delayed or missed vaccinations”.
All of the diseases children are vaccinated against have serious consequences, and are absolutely still present in communities creating vulnerability for children. Vaccinations can prevent these diseases.
- Haemophilus influenzae type b is a severe bacterial infection, occurring primarily in infants and children under 5 years. It can cause meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis, epiglottitis (a severe throat infection), skin infections, and arthritis and is most serious in children under age 1.
- One measles epidemic (1989-90) led to 55,000 cases of measles, 11,000 hospitalizations and 123 deaths. The majority of these cases were in non-vaccinated preschool children. Of every 1,000 people who get measles, 1 to 2 will die.
- Although Rubella (German measles) is usually a mild disease in children and young adults, it can cause devastating birth defects if contracted by a pregnant woman with at least 80% chance of damage to the fetus if a woman is infected early in pregnancy.
There is no scientific evidence linking vaccinations to autism.
- Regarding perceived increases in the rates of autism, there are two important facts to consider. First, some of the diagnostic parameters providers use to diagnose autism have changed over the past ten years to become more inclusive. For example, some children who used to be considered to have a learning disability may now be more correctly diagnosed with autism. Second, the medical community is more aware of autism and therefore more likely to pursue a diagnosis and treatment than in previous years.
- A recent study in the British Medical Journal found no rise in incidence of autism in children who received MMR as compared to those who did not. There is no scientifically proven link between measles vaccination and autism. Of note, Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s research (that sparked the concern for the autism and vaccine connection) has been clearly and harshly criticized for fraudulent research methods and has been retracted from the journal that published the “research”.
- Increasing evidence indicates that autism is determined while the baby is still in the womb, early in the pregnancy.