Youíve all heard the rumors — that childhood vaccines may cause autism and might actually cause more harm than good. This kind of rumor didnít exist back when I was a kid. People were so grateful to actually HAVE vaccines, since my motherís generation lost loved ones or witnessed devastating disability because of diseases like polio, tetanus, and small pox. But things have changed. When I went to vaccinate my baby, other Mommy & Me mothers raised eyebrows. Youíd have thought I was needling my daughter with poison.
Who Started the Autism/Vaccine Rumors?
Where did these rumors come from? Well, they got ignited by an article by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in the well-respected British medical journal Lancet in 1998, which linked the MMR vaccine and autism. Since this article was published, vaccination rates have fallen sharply — in Great Britain they were down to 80 percent in 2004, as reported by CNN.† As a result, measles cases have been on the rise for the first time in many years.
Because of this, many people have taken the leap to think that if one vaccine could cause autism, maybe all of them do. Since then, many have speculated that thimerosal, an additive in many vaccines, may be responsible.
Next: What should parents do?