Home > Science & Research, Vaccine Myths > Autism and Vaccines: An Unhealthy Association

Autism and Vaccines: An Unhealthy Association

By Christine Vara

When I first started contributing to the Shot of Prevention blog, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of frustration.  It seemed whenever I read an article about vaccines, there was always some mention of autism.    It got to the point where I wondered if the word autism could ever be used in a sentence without it somehow being linked to vaccines.  Of course, I quickly became a student of history and science, while also an observer of the enormous amount of misinformation that is disseminated online in regards to a suggested link of autism and vaccines. 

The shining light came when I was fortunate enough to discover an organization called the Autism Science Foundation.   Recently, they launched the “Autism Science Foundation Channel on YouTube” which features interviews with top autism researchers, ASF grantees, autism book authors, and details the important new autism research being conducted today. 

By focusing on the science, this organization’s mission is to “support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research”.  Their efforts are critical in providing information about autism to the general public and their work helps to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.

What’s important to note, is that their philosophy is based on three sound principles, as summarized below.

  •  Autism is known to have a strong genetic component. Research must aim to discover the mechanisms of action that trigger autism, as well as safe, effective and novel treatments to enhance the quality of life for children and adults currently affected.
  • Early diagnosis and early intervention are critical to helping people with autism reach their potential, but educational, vocational and support services must be applied across the lifespan.
  • Vaccines save lives; they do not cause autism. Numerous studies have failed to show a causal link between vaccines and autism. Vaccine safety research should continue to be conducted by the public health system in order to ensure vaccine safety and maintain confidence in our national vaccine program, but further investment of limited autism research dollars is not warranted at this time.

It is comforting to know that there are autism advocates who recognize the fact that vaccines save lives.  I commend the Autism Science Foundation for standing firm on this principle.  I admire the work they are doing to advance autism research and encourage everyone to check out their new YouTube channel

Their premise continues to give me hope:  Communicating what we do know about what causes autism is often the best way to dispel myths about what doesn’t.   Do you agree?

  1. autismsciencefoundation
    July 21, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the support!! We are honored to work with the wonderful advocates who support this great blog and who are so dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of children. http://www.autismsciencefoundation.org
    –Alison

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  2. July 22, 2010 at 7:45 am

    If anybody wants to do a case study they can start right away with my kids. My first one was vaccinated and my second one was not, and both were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I strongly believe they both had all the systems even in utero, it just came out with a bang much more so after the vaccinations. In family courts and matters of divorce, that the courts will be biased to a mother who keeps stressing how much she has done for the child. The more occupied you are with that, the more chances that they will TAKE AWAY your parental rights, due to being ‘harmful’ to your child! This is happening to mothers across the world where Autism is involved in the custody case. I wrote about this on my blog http://autismcustodybattles.wordpress.com/ and I urge you to read it carefully before asking the courts for anything for your child. You may be saying all the right things, but shooting yourself in the foot.

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  3. July 23, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    There are plenty of autism parents who do NOT believe in that vaccines are causal in autism. They’re just not organized as the “vaccine injury” parents are.

    The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism has published How I Know Vaccines Didn’t Cause My Daughter’s Autism.

    I’m hoping that in the next few years, online and traditional media will get away from the false “balance” model, and cease to mention vaccines in stories on autism. After all, stories on geography don’t mention the theory that the earth is flat.

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  4. christinevara
    July 25, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Liz, Thank you for referring me to the article “How I Know Vaccines Didn’t Cause My Daughter’s Autism” (http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-i-know-vaccines-didnt-cause-my.html)
    It was refreshing for me, as a vaccine supporter, to hear her story. The author is clearly commited to the wellbeing of her child and I admire her courage to speak so confidently about vaccines within the autism community. The evidence she has within her daughter’s early life to support her conviction that her daughter’s vaccinations did not contribute to her autism diagnosis is relevant to all parents, whether they have autistic children or not. I sincerely hope that others will read this story and choose to protect their children from life threatening diseases through vaccinations.

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  5. September 26, 2010 at 12:53 am

    This article is a little disturbing to me, mostly because I just suffered nerve damage from receiving a tetanus vaccination. This was not some coincidental connection either, as my symptoms began the morning after I received the shot. Don’t be so quick to debunk these connections between vaccinations and autism. Vaccinations may prevent diseases, but they can also cause them. Be careful, and know the risks.

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