Thursday, February 12, 2009

Can MMR vaccine cause autism?

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and its ingredients,specifically thimerosal, have been blamed in the lay press for causing autism in children. This is a serious charge. I am glad the manufacturers and other scientists have been investigating this issue carefully. Three families have taken this a step further and filed for payments from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Two days ago, the Vaccine Court Omnibus Autism Proceeding ruled against the parents of the three children. The three "special masters" cited the Institute of Medicine's two analysis, other analysis and their own review of the scientific data available. I want to highlight that thimerosal has been removed from vaccines for several years and the rate of autism has been slowly increasing in children that did not receive any thimerosal. Here's a more detailed reporting.

Where do I come in? First, I am asked for my opinion. I do not think thimerosol, MMR, or other vaccines caused autism in children. I am not happy that the rate of autism appears to be increasing. This is the result of several factors (better testing, more parents requesting testing, people being exposed to lots of chemicals or reckless behaviors than ever before, for starters). Second, should children get an MMR? Yes, unless they meet the specific contraindications of a known allergic or life-threatening reaction to the vaccine. The CDC stated: The American Academy of Pediatric's "Red Book" Committee no longer considers egg allergy a contraindication to MMR vaccination. The new CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices statement on MMR also recommends routine vaccination of egg-allergic children without the use of special protocols or desensitization procedures. Third, can we check for allergic reactions to MMR vaccines or desensitize patients before giving the vaccine? Yes, but there is less need to do so now.
If you have questions, ask your doctor....

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