Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Open-Minded

I'm linking this post with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday meme. Each week we write about a subject that begins with a particular letter of the alphabet. This week's letter is "O."

I try and be open-minded both in life and on this blog. But it's sometimes hard to do that. There is a big rift in the autism community over whether vaccinations cause autism. In the past, I've stated that I personally don't believe they do, although I'm open to the idea that a very small percentage of children are affected. However, I'm a big supporter of immunizations. I think the benefits from them far outweigh the risk. I also wish people would study other environmental factors to see if anything else could be causing the rise in autism rates (and allergy rates and autoimmune disease rates).

The main study that the anti-vaccine people would point to was one conducted by Andrew Wakefield. Dr. Wakefield had his medical license stripped from him last year because it was found that he had falsified the data in that study. Even more damning information came out earlier this month when it was found that lawyers that were suing vaccine companies had paid Dr. Wakefield about $675,000 before his study was released.

The effects of kids not receiving their immunizations have been noticeable. In the Los Angeles area where I live, there have been outbreaks of measles and whooping cough. Have the reduced immunization rates led to reduced cases of autism? My guess is no. The autism rates still appear to be rising.

For me, it's really hard to keep an open-mind on this issue!

31 comments:

  1. I don't believe that vaccines cause autism, though I don't doubt that there are some children who react badly to vaccines, but it isn't autism. The problems that study by Dr Wakefield caused are massive and children have died because they haven't been immunized. He should be prosecuted. Jen

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  2. I agree 100% with you, Cheryl. I support immunizations, and I think they really are so important! And I have TWO kids who have autism! I have gotten criticism in support groups because I still immunize my kids.

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  3. Thank you for posting this. I've had people yell at me for vaccinating my spectrum kid and then react even worse when they found out I also did my younger "typical" kid. I agree with you 100%

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  4. i agree with you and have strong opinions too but dont really go into them since i don't ever intend to argue with ppl who have different views. Autism existed before vaccines were invented. There "may be" a rise recently but I also think the drs "may be" just that much better in dx it.

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  5. I agree.. i have so many friends that won't vaccinate their kids......

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  6. I don't blame you for having a hard time keeping an open mind about immunizations. I have an Aspie and I sometimes go back to the time when he ate everything. Now at 10 years of age he nearly sticks to only dry cinnamon toast and microwaved hot dogs. Who do you blame? I guess not being angry is the best thing.

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  7. Cheryl,
    I agree with you too! I found you through the Autism Blogs Directory. I have a 15 year old daughter with Asperger's and I'm so glad to have found your site.
    Aloha,
    Sue

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  8. I do vaccinate my kids, but I just allow no more than 2 shots at once.

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  9. Hello, I'm following you today in the Alphabe-list (number 24)and I'm so glad I did. I'm expecting my second child in July and this topic came up recently. We immunized our first for the reasons you stated above, but I've always felt fearful of giving him vaccinations. Thanks for sharing your views and research on the subject.

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  10. I grew up in a time when there were a lot less vaccinations available and kids were sick all the time! I had measles twice, even though you are supposed to have immunity once you have it. I remember being in a dark room for over a week and being so tired and feeling so bad. I am a firm believer in immunizations and had every one available for my kids, but I understand the concern of some who don't. Your kids are so precious and no one can really make those kinds of decisions except parents...

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  11. We gave immunizations to JDaniel. It was a hard decision, but we went for it. We even get flu shots. Some of my friends have decided against both.

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  12. I don't even waver on this one. Resurgence rates of diseases that once considered "eradicated" are staggering. I understand the fear of all the unknowns surrounding vaccinations. Living in a mobile world puts all kids at risk, not just those who've chosen not to vaccinate. It's a tough discussion but it's one I feel pretty strongly about.

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  13. I am with you on this one. I think that there were and are some false correlations made. And yes, immunizations do more good than harm. Amen sistah!

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  14. The resurgence of these diseases that can be so dangerous concerns me. I always vaccinated my kids and I did my research. We had a recent outbreak of Whooping Cough at our school that was pretty scary. But with the Internet and so many people anti-vaccine now, this will continue to be an issue I think.

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  15. I think history has the answer for us - autism has been around since before vaccinations.
    There have been at least 2 deaths of babies from Whooping Cough here in Australia; one was Dana McCaffery

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  16. It is hard to keep an open mind. I do hope this non vaccinating trend turns around. Vaccines are important. While I can understand exercising caution in some cases, I don't understand refusal of vaccines.

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  17. Ro is right - autism has been around long before vaccinations. Case closed. ;)

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  18. This really hit home for me. For a long time I was convinced of the same thing about vaccinations (without really doing my homework). I'm so lucky to have found a really great pediatrician who talked me into getting my little guy vaccinated. My doctor is originally from India and she told me that she's seen Polio and other diseases first hand. Would we ever want a return of these diseases? Nope. Not me.

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  21. It is great to understand all sides of an issue, and always be respectful, but you don't need to have a truly open mind about everything. I think, for example, gay marriage is a fundamental right, and I don't have an open mind about the other side.

    In this case, we have a public health responsibilty to vaccinate our kids. At this point, I don't think I do need to have an open mind about the other side.

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  22. A relative's children almost died from whooping cough. I cannot imagine not protecting your child from these serious childhood illnesses.

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  23. I'm slightly nervous about the vaccinations and autism, but I would still have my kids get them, for certain. My DIL chose to have her son get them all, but she spread them out more so he wasn't getting so many each time. This seemed to work very well and made her mind easier about doing it.

    =)

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  24. We were having this debate just the other night with a visiting Uncle and Aunt whose Granddaughter is autistic.

    I think sometimes we want to know the 'why' of something and need to find an answer...any answer that makes situation more palatable. I still find myself doing this with our daughters addiction...if I just knew 'why' I tell myself, maybe I could understand and it would be less painful.

    This rationalization hasn't worked yet in fifteen years and I'm not sure why I continue to let it run through my mind, but I do.

    Thanks for an outstandingly thoughtful link to Alphabe-Thursday.

    I can always count on you to make me think...and that is a good thing.

    A+

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  25. Having the same - ish dilemma here with swine flu injections for asthmatic suns. Majorly disturbing media coverage at end of last winter on how it had all been a pharmaceutical con, now back to media scaremongering on hospitals closing doors because of full wards. Nowhere to turn for sound data.

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  26. I don't have data, but I would guess that autism is more likely to be diagnosed than previously. I can't think it is caused by vaccines. Like you, I'll be open minded and wait for more information.

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  27. I generally agree, but don't disbelieve mothers like Autism Mom Rising who see the heartbreaking regressions after vaccinations.

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  29. Yikes Cheryl...I'm trying to remove my comments but it only let me remove the last ones. I don't suppose comment sections on other people's blogs is the best place for me to address this issue, because my feelings on it are more nuanced than I could convey in a comment section and I wouldn't want to give the wrong impression by not doing due diligence. I will do that on my own blog one day. Could you please remove my comments up there. Thanks.

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  30. I'm holding off on removing Autism Mom's Rising comments. I want to respect her wishes, but I really love the way she brought another angle to the debate in an instructive, constructive manner. I've checked with her let her know my feelings. I also wanted to express them here publicly. If she still wants me to remove them, I will honor her request. But in the meantime, I just don't have the heart to hit the delete button!

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  31. I held out on immunization for my children until they were at age to go to school, and I also spread the shots out. It seemed to work just fine!

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