Measles or autism? Not a choice
Public discussion of childhood immunizations has been set of late by their opponents. They contend, extremely vehemently, that the vaccinations can cause autism. The risk of childhood disease, many of these critics say, is a small one compared to the risk of autism.
Now one of the diseases behind those vaccinations has struck close to home, with the L.A. Times reporting Monday that a local child has been hospitalized with measles. Arizona and Wisconsin have reported outbreaks as well. And the CDC recently urged measles vaccinations for unimmunized travelers to Israel, site of a recent 900-case outbreak.
Measles, if you'll recall, still kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, most of them under 5 and most of them in less-well-immunized -- and not-so-thoroughly-televised -- countries.
So far, however, there's been little public discussion of the repercussions of going unimmunized when the risk of childhood diseases becomes more than hypothetical. Opponents, feel free to weigh in on balancing that risk.
In the meantime, here are other parents of autistic kids, with views different from those commonly heard:
In Joy of Autism: "It is truly frightening how far certain parties are willing to go to prove that vaccines cause autism, which science has proven otherwise."
In Autism Vox: "... even with greater public access to such scientific evidence disputing a vaccine-autism link, the belief that vaccines or something in vaccines can be directly pointed to as a cause of autism has so far proven more than difficult to dispel."
And in Stop. Think. Autism., before she tackled Jenny McCarthy's recent comments on "Larry King Live," the author wrote that: "Parents, and the public, must see the danger in not vaccinating, the harm of placing blame on something that science continues to dismiss..."
-- Tami Dennis
Photo: Immunization before eighth grade in Garden Grove, Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times