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To Vaccinate Your Child, Or Not?

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To Vaccinate Your Child, Or Not?

Donna Curless’s three children were born and spent their early years in Brick Township, a mid-size, middle income New Jersey city whose rate of children with autism (one in 160) then seemed so off the charts that it became the quoted statistic for quite a few years.  Looking for possible causes, government and independent investigators found the water supply polluted with a mixture of industrial chemicals from local manufacturing plants, to which chlorine had been added as a disinfectant, as it is in so many American cities and towns.  (Chlorine can combine with other chemicals to produce a toxic byproduct.)

Yet Donna is sure that her own children’s autism was the result of vaccinations. It’s possible she’s right. Although Dr. Philip Landrigan, the ‘father’ of environmental pediatrics says there’s no evidence to link vaccines and autism, some in the scientific and medical community have found evidence to the contrary.

The unsettled debate involves two questions:

1. Might there be a subset of children who are likely, or at least more likely, to react badly to the current vaccination program?
2. Aren’t there circumstances in which any child might have a bad response?

There’s enough research to suggest that both premises are plausible but not enough for a definitive answer. Given this unsettled debate, parents could follow a better-safe-than-sorry plan of action while research, which will undoubtedly take a really long time, figures out just what does cause autism spectrum disorders, not to mention asthma and other allergies which are also on a disconcerting rise.  And birth defects; and cancer.

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Read more: Babies, Children, General Health, Health, News & Issues, Poisoned for Profit, , , ,

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Alice Shabecoff

Alice Shabecoff is a freelance journalist focusing on family and consumer topics, and co-author of the recently published book Poisoned for Profit (Chelsea Green). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and International Herald Tribune, among other publications. She was executive director of the National Consumers League, the country’s oldest consumer organization, and executive director of the national nonprofit Community Information Exchange.

706 comments

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4:03AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

thank you

4:06PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

Thank you for article.

4:05PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

Thank you for article.

10:27AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

Thanks.

3:47PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Lindsey, having all the side effects on the packet is all well and good, but how many folk do you know that get to read them.
And of course you realize that babies can't read, and if for some reason they can, they can't talk to say they don't want the vaccine. Al they can do is cry and scream.
The mothers are mostly sold on the idea of immunization, so they are not going to question it. Here in Australia they don't exactly pull each person aside to warn them of the possible side effects of each vaccine. Blind faith.
Finally, most side effects are not recorded, or passed off as something else, or considered not relevant due to an 'over reactive mother.'
Unbiased? yeah, right!

11:51AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

If any injury is caused a patient by a drug through a known side effect that's disclosed in the literature, there would be no reason for compensation.

All drugs have known side effects and patients have to weigh the benefits vs. the risks when they choose to take them. And if the patient doesn't want to take the risk of the known side effects, then he shouldn't take the medication. And if he does he's assuming the risk himself (or parents are, if the patient is a child).

11:15AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Of course there has to be a "disinterested" 3rd party. I am loath to agree to mediation as I have seen the system use it for the so called best of intention but tainted mediators screw it up for the other party. Just about every corner of society has been corupted by bankers, businessmen, priests etc etc etc so I am not sure there can be a fair hearing on anything anymore.

7:57AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

"Proof on either street would be difficult, unless there was transparency, and unbiased science available."

UYou do realize than any study is done "double blind" where the patient AND the physician do not know what the patient is getting, don't you? That eliminates bias.

7:32AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

i totally agree with you guys on that one.
Of course it would have to be a 2 way street, so as to fully cover the vaccinated if they were damaged, or died.
Proof on either street would be difficult, unless there was transparency, and unbiased science available.
We dream! :-)

4:23AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Colleen:

Its a start. But the papewr has to implicate the parents as well. They are/were the people that made the decision. Somebody should be responsible.

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