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Vaccines don’t cause autism

January 28, 2008

by Roz Kohls

Here’s some good news for parents and society as a whole.

Vaccinations don’t cause autism, as many people thought.

A California Department of Public Health study in the current “Archives of General Psychiatry” evaluated autistic children referred to the state’s Developmental Services System, and covered the years 1995 to March of 2007.

“If thimerosal-preserved vaccines cause autism, the researchers said, diagnoses should have started falling in 2004,” said Michael Fumento in the Jan. 18 American Spectator. Fumento is a Washington, DC based writer specializing in health and science issues.

“But there has been no plummet, no decline, no leveling,” in autism since thimerosal-preservatives were removed from all childhood vaccines since March 2001.

“There hasn’t been the least bit of decrease in the increasing number of cases of autism,” Fumento said.

“We are assured that we found no link between routine childhood vaccination and increases in childhood autism in the data,” wrote the study’s lead author and California Department of Public Health Medical Officer Robert Schecter, a physician.

Children from Sweden, Denmark and Canada also were included in the study. Those countries discontinued the preservative even earlier than California. “Autism rates climbed at the same pace as before,” Fumento said.

Part of the reason the the vaccinations-cause-autism rumor started is spelling. Thimerosal contains 50 percent ethyl mercury. Methyl mercury, which starts with the letter “m,” comes from power plants, and gets into fish that pregnant women are not supposed to eat.

Another reason is that symptoms of autism starts to show in children about the same time when children get most of their vaccinations. Parents assume there is a cause and effect relationship, but there isn’t. It’s like saying wearing shorts and swimsuits causes ice cream to melt. They both happen at the same time, summer.

Three studies published Jan. 10 in “American Journal of Human Genetics,” pointed to genetics as being the cause of autism, not vaccinations.

Some parents have become free riders on “herd immunity.” This means if at least 85 percent of other children get vaccinated for diptheria, for example, their children are protected also, even if they don’t get vaccinated.

If too many people free ride, though, herd immunity is lost and horrible childhood diseases comeback, such as pertussis, better known as “whooping cough.” Pertussis went from 8,000 cases in 2001, to 25,000 in 2005, Fumento said.

Parents, take a deep breath and relax. Your kids aren’t going to get autism from vaccinations. Let’s get rid of those awful childhood diseases.