I try to stay out of the vaccine “debate” as much as possible. As someone who works in clinical psychology and has a son with a rare metabolic disorder, I find the “debate” infuriating and have so many different issues with it, but I refrain from arguing about it because it’s a waste of energy. However, it’s been on my mind lately given Gus’s health issues and today it’s all coming out. So, here goes (be warned):
1. The supposed link between autism and vaccines has been completely and 100% debunked by the medical community. For those of you who do not know what debunked means- it means that it does not exist. There is not any truth to these claims. There is no real evidence.
2. Any medical professional who says that there is a real relationship between autism and vaccines is first of all, a quack. And second all, they probably have a product or line of treatment to sell and promote. They are preying on the desperation and vulnerability of parents.
3. The idea that the medical community is somehow involved in a grand conspiracy to infect our children with potential developmental disabilities is preposterous and ridiculous. Doctors and medical staff that are involved in pediatrics are some of the most amazing and special people on this planet. If you think that those individuals who spend countless hours on the front lines fighting for children could in any way be involved in the actual harming of children, you clearly have not spent any amount of time on a pediatric hospital unit. As someone who has, the medical community who work with children are modern day angels and superheros. I’ve seen them at work. It’s insulting to the entire pediatric medical community to think they would harm children in any way.
4. There is a frenzied fear and paranoia that exists regarding autism in our society that is incredibly stigmatizing to individuals and children who actually have autism. People treat autism as if it is some type of terminal illness that must be avoided at all costs. People live in fear of this disorder that they actually know nothing about. Most people who harbor such fears have probably never even met a real person who has autism. Their views about children with autism are what they’ve seen on TV or read in their latest Google search. If people actually met and had relationships with individuals with autism, they might discover that they are absolutely wonderful people. They do not have some type of plague which must be avoided at all other costs. They might realize that autism isn’t actually anything to be afraid of. Get rid of the fear and you get rid of the stigmatization that this vaccine/autism “debate” continues to perpetuate.
5. The “dilemma” about vaccinating children is a white, middle-class problem that’s not actually a real problem at all. The highest incident rates of whooping cough and measles (which by the way were almost nearly eradicated and are now on the rise) are highest in affluent communities. It’s true. Check out the statistics for yourself. The “dilemma” is fueled by people who need something to obsess and worry about.
6. Not vaccinating children is a public health risk and it kills children. Yes, kills children. And it has the potential to kill mine and other children like mine. My son becomes critical when he gets the stomach flu, the effect measles would have on his fragile system would have devastating effects. I think babies and kids dying is a big deal. I think anything that helps prevent the potential loss of innocent lives should be used. And as far as I know, no child has ever died from autism, but there’s plenty that have died from childhood diseases that could have been prevented.
So, while you’re “protecting” your child from a threat that doesn’t even exist, you’re exposing mine and millions of other children to real threats that have the power to kill them.