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Did Autism Worries Affect Your Decision to Vaccinate?

So much about autism is unknown and though scientific studies say vaccinations are safe, some parents of children who have the developmental disorder voice concern.

Believing in motherly instincts as well as my pediatrician, deciding to vaccinate my daughter and son was very difficult.

Did you have this dilemma? What did you ultimately decide to do?

Join The Conversation
one4eric one4eric 8 years
to all of you that think vaccines do no harm come on over to my house and watch my 17 year old son seizure allday.I was rubbed by the vaccines my son never walked or talked so do some home work read what others have to say the government does'nt want you to know what vaccines can and will do to our kids thank you
VSug VSug 9 years
Now I have to go and update my profile once again. So many of you are now my heroes! (Remember that section.) Though I have no fist-hand experience with autism or cerebral palsy, nor am I a mom, I just know in my gut that your children hear you and feel your devotion and love. You are really amazing women. xoxo, VSug
loislane47 loislane47 9 years
Actually, a doctor can write a note to the school system on a parent's behalf if they choose not to vaccinate their child. While most states and school systems "require" certain shots, they don't all require the 36 shots now recommended for each child. Legally, the state can't discriminate against a child whose parents choose to not vaccinate them due to equal opportunity laws. Fortunately due to those laws, other parents have no jurisdiction over another child's shot record nor are they allowed to know which children have or have not received their shots. Also, I believe that having a "your child can't play with my child" attitude simply because you don't agree with another parent's decision is teaching your children it's okay to discriminate and undermine an adult's careful decision. Vaccinations are not a cure-all, simply a preventative measure. Unfortunately, I disagree with people scoffing at trying to nail down what triggers Autism. It is an incredibly serious and heartbreaking condition which affects 1.5 million Americans and causes over 90 billion dollars in health care costs each year. Having a cavalier, germ-phobia attitude is a slap in the face to parents with Autistic children and others who struggle with the decision to not vaccinate their children.
fsquaash fsquaash 9 years
I'm not sure what state the rest of you live in, but we're required to vaccinate before public school entrance in our state. In general, I would recommend that parents choose their medical treatment for their child. But if they are putting the rest of us at risk (even vaccinations--like seat belts--are not foolproof), then they don't play with my kids. I think we're going to look back at this vaccine-autism craze in 10 years and be embarrassed by our rush to judgment against all scientific evidence.
loislane47 loislane47 9 years
I have a weekend gig as a behavioral therapist to an Autistic child. While I do believe most of it is genetic predisposition, his parents have video before AND after he recieved his shots, and watching his degenerative behavior was heartbreaking. After his sister was born, his parents opted to not give her any shots and she's perfectly normal. I think we can all agree that each mother must do what is right for her child, but we should also keep in mind that 95% of children are born with immunity to diseases that hardly exist today. While the CDC denies that vaccines cause autism, 1 in 150 children have autism in America, so obviously, something is up. My experience with this family and working with other Autistic children has made me think twice about vaccinations. I won't be vaccinating my own children due to my own research, but to each his own. Also, I think flu shots are a hoax and should definitely not be given to infants. I've never had one and won't. Autism Speaks.
rgrl rgrl 9 years
Thanks Lickety, I really feel for your daughter and your family. I can see why you came to the conclusion that the vaccines might have played a part in her problems. Sometimes doctors and scientists don't know everything. I've come to that conclusion from my own past experiences. I guess we all have to try to do what we think is best for our child.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 9 years
You're welcome anniekim :) I hope that book helps both you and I understand vaccinations a bit more. This conversation is a good one. No flying fists, just a good discussion IMO. Facin8me, you bring up some really valid points.
facin8me facin8me 9 years
While I find personal stories of autism moving and heartbreaking, it is important to remember that these personal stories of autism have led scientists to repeatedly study if there is any causative effect between vaccines and autism. Again and again, scientists (government, private, and public) have found no link. There are a few competing (or complementary, depending on how you look at it) views on how vaccines might be involved in autism- but these all lack a biological basis (though you wouldn't know it by some of the pseudoscience thrown around the anti-vaccine community). I think it's important to follow your motherly instincts, but I also think that you need good sources to help you distinguish what is fact from hysterical fiction when you make your choices. Good places to look are Pubmed ( and the Institute of Medicine's report on vaccines and autism. Organizations like Generation Rescue are not reputable sources for information- their website contains discredited papers, amateur speculation, and support for dangerous treatments such as chelation therapy. There is no government conspiracy to keep a dangerous product on the shelf to protect drug companies- it doesn't make sense because autism will ultimately cost educational and social services in cities and states more than the drug companies will lose to simply change a formulation. While some children with autism make gains and can live a relatively normal life, others will need care long after their parents are gone- often this care will fall on social services. It's funny, because people always say that more research needs to be done on this subject but there have been several huge studies, two just released in the past few months, that refute the autism-vaccine link. The question becomes- what scientist or epidemiologist in their right mind would get involved in this research if it's simply not going to be believed? Much of this research is public and not done by pharmaceutical company scientists. And if people don't want to become involved in finding a cause because they won't be believed, how does that impact future children? If we keep on recycling the same tired hypothesis, who wins?
stina829 stina829 9 years
licketysplit, I am so sorry that you and your child and your family had to go through that. Thank you for sharing your story. Now I'm definitely going to do some more research and have a long talk with my son's doctor before he gets any more vaccinations. It helps to actually hear someone's story. Thanks again. I really do appreciate it. :)
KAEB06 KAEB06 9 years
We have had many delays with my son since his vaccines and we actually stopped vaccinating him at 9 months (he didn't get the MMR)...with the research I have done, our experiences this last year and my first hand encounters with other parents dealing with the same issues...we will NOT be vaccinating any future child.
VSug VSug 9 years
First off, and it might just be me, but I don't recall seeing a poll with members having so much to say. That's terrific. In April, Jenny McCarthy will be hosting the premiere of a documentary film one of my best friends produced, called "Autism Yeserday". Lucky for me, I get to go. This same friend and her husband co-founded a non-profit called, Generation Rescue. I urge all concerned moms, as well as moms with kids with autism, to check out the group's website: VSug (formerly known as Vster)
anniekim anniekim 9 years
lickety split--thank you for sharing your story. I must be difficult to detail it, but I think it helps us all to develop compassion. designRchic--thanks. I think I will get that book. I think highly of the Doctors Sears. Whichever side of this issue you come down there is a lot to consider. There is a tremendous amount of pressure in this country to vaccinate 1st, ask questions later.
stefsprl stefsprl 9 years
I don't have kids yet, but my husband and I have already discussed that we're not sure if we will vaccinate or guess is that we will, but at an older age and more spread out than they normally do them. I have a friend, though, who had a really hard time with getting both her son and daughter into their elementary and preschools because they hadn't been vaccinated. They had a history of autism in her family, so they had held off while they were little, but since they were 7 and 4 1/2 at the time they went ahead and did it since they were past the typical age of concern.
ylatan ylatan 9 years
and, if you're so confident in your vaccines, why are you worried about letting your child play with mine? really. your kid is vaccinated, so they should be safe, right? yeah, right.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
you'll probably want to home school then because vaccines aren't required for children to go to school in the united states. by signing the back of the immunization schedule at their child's school parents are (by law) allowed to choose not to immunize. and you aren't entilted to know what choices other parents have made so to be safe be sure and keep your children at home :) and thanks, you choosing to immunize and for saving tax dollars by homeschooling!
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
I will definitely vaccinate my children. And I'm totally with fsquaash, if you're not vaccinated, you're not playing with my child! All these anti-vaccination folks really ought to thanks us for keeping the "herd immunity" up.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
OMG lickety split. That is terrifying!
DesignRchic DesignRchic 9 years
anniekim, Dr. Sears has a book out that I'm considering purchasing. It's pretty neutral and doesn't sway you to think a certain opinion. It's called "The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child" Lickety, your story always moves me. Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us all.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
wow lickitysplit... thank you for sharing (im sure it's not so easy to do so). i like this site & forum for the wealth of information shared and what you can learn... your post is a prime example of that
supermommie supermommie 9 years
I agree that we need to watch things over time. My daughter has cerebral palsy. It wasn't cause by vaccines or anything that the doctor did. In our case we are almost 100% sure that it was genetics. I vaccinated my daughter because the risks of not getting it bothered me more than the risk of autism. Perhaps if i had heard all of the glaring media I would have changed my mind. I don't think so, but maybe. SM
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
romaingirl-okay, long story made short (er). my oldest daughter was typically developing BUT had a difficult time with her shots (yes i think it's a genetic predisposition). she was taken to the er a couple of times with bad reactions following vaccines for things like extreme irritability, vomiting, rashes, (as was our second daughter). w/i 20 minutes of her mmr she began screaming and screamed for 24 hours stopping only when she passed out. we have some of this on film because her younger sisters’ baptism party was happening that day. in the film, you can see her stumbling around, running into things and screaming at the top of her lungs. after this time, she started to have periods where she would look off into space and not hear what you were saying. it came and went. for over a year no one but me saw it because i was with her all day. during this time, i had her evaluated at the regional center, by our school district and her pediatrician. everyone said she was fine and that i was the one with the problem. at about 2 1/2, she cut her foot on a nail in our back yard and was given booster tetanus as a precaution. more, longer periods of "spacing out" and within a month her regression was obvious to everyone. she spoke less, spoke mostly in narration rather than to communicate and frequently confused words (balloon/barney, yes/no, car/go). she was reevaluated and they ran MANY tests (mri, blood work, etc. a titers was done (tells you the immunity various diseases). her titers were off the chart. she stopped sweating, was red and had a rash that covered most of her body. she wouldn't eat and was almost put on a feeding tube twice. when she did eat, it came back up or out the other end in liquid form. i did some research and found out that there are a number of children with autism who had a similar history. mercury poisoning from the preservative thimerosal was cited as the source by the parents and (two doctors). the theory is that the mercury crosses the blood brain barrier (which is not fully formed before 6 months of age) and the damage begins. as each subsequent vaccine assaults the child, the damage increases. the mmr has no thimerosal but measles portion of the vaccine is especially harsh on the little systems that have already been traumatized. my daughter lost all speech a couple of years ago. she can no longer immitate so she can't use sigh language and doesn't understan a picture exchange system. she is heavily medicated to keep her from tearing herself apart (biting, throwing herself against the wall and onto floors, pulling out hair and scratching at her eyes) and screaming as if she is on fire for hours at a time. she suffers everyday in ways that i cannot help because she cannot communicate.there are things worse than death. no more vaccines at our house.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
Shots in general are scary things. As parents, we are taking a huge leap of faith in allowing anything to be injected directly into our children's bloodstream. I don't have a lot of faith in the CDC or FDA to take universal precautions or thorough preventive measures.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I have had my girls vaccinated, but on a modified schedule to lower risk. does a good job addressing both sides of the issue and offering a modified vaccine schedule. They have a book on vaccines coming out soon. It seems to me that it is very difficult to get the straight dope on the topic of vaccination. Both pro and con camps are very inflexible. The AMA and AAP both push vaccines and deny any problems. Anti vaccination groups (such as are full of anecdotal evidence and horror stories. If any one can lead me to a source that discusses both sides of this debate in depth I'd sure appreciate it.
ylatan ylatan 9 years
we don't do immunizations, but for other reasons. like, ever read the ingredients list? or about the actual diseases?
litbear221 litbear221 9 years
I don't have kids yet, but I am almost more concerned with the fact that measles, whopping cough and other diseases are on the rise. My father had measles as a child and he remembers it, that how much he suffered. Whopping cough is also terrible, you can literally break ribs, especially if it is a young child that gets it.
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