The Philadelphia Inquirer has added its voice to the recent chorus of editorial boards and reporters who are standing against the discredited vaccine-autism link. Gone from these pieces are the fruitless attempts to “balance” the autism story with comments from fringe players who still maintain, with no credible evidence whatsoever, that government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and 700,000 US physicians are engaged in a huge conspiracy known only to the crankiest denizens of the internet.
New waves of science are debunking the sturdiest of suburban myths: that childhood vaccination is linked to autism in children.
This myth has been stoked by the Internet, concerned parents’ groups, high-profile advocates like Joseph Kennedy II, and pop media (the topic was in the first episode of ABC’s Eli Stone).
Every major medical organization, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the American Academy of Pediatrics to the Institute of Medicine, states that vaccination does not cause autism.
But advocates insist the science is suspect, part of a conspiracy of a science-industrial-governmental complex.
It is understandable that parents and families – grief-stricken and looking for answers – have seized on vaccination. But the truth is no one knows why rates of autism have risen almost 10 times higher than in the 1980s. Much of that may be because of better awareness and changes in the way autism is diagnosed.
Parents can rest assured about vaccination. It’s a success story, helping create a world freer of disease than ever. It has changed childhood for billions of people and all but ended former scourges of the world.
Bottom line: The risks of not getting children vaccinated aren’t worth taking.
Regrettably, the editorial contains two errors, one substantial, the other one just plain odd. The writer mistakingly claims that the MMR vaccine contains thimerosal, a substantial error that makes one wonder how much research the editorial board is putting into learning about other public health issues. And oddly, the article cites “Joseph Kennedy II” as a vocal opponent of vaccines, instead of Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Regardless, the paper deserves a shout out for exposing the ignorance that surrounds autism. You can let the paper know your own thoughts here.