Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 • 2 Comments on Shot in the Arm?
Patrick goes for his two-month appointment—which will include vaccinations—on Friday. Before I had a baby, I was aware there was controversy over vaccines and a possible connection to autism. Now that I’m a parent, I’m paying more attention to the reasons behind the controversy. I found this NPR article interesting, though it only complicates the debate:
It took 12 years, but the medical journal the Lancet has retracted once and for all a controversial paper that drew a link between vaccines and autism and helped fuel a backlash against immunization of children.
A 1998 Lancet paper reported on a dozen kids who developed various behavioral and intestinal problems. Eight of them had been vaccinated with a combination shot against measles, mumps and rubella.
Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the lead investigator, brought international attention to the paper by saying he thought the MMR vaccinations were to blame. The assertions chipped away at confidence in vaccination.
It later emerged that Wakefield had been taking money from a lawyer suing vaccine makers. The results of his study couldn’t be replicated.
For the record, we’ve always intended to get Patrick vaccinated. The benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks of not vaccinating. But that doesn’t mean I won’t worry. It would be nice if the issue wasn’t blurred by medical professionals—on either side of the debate—who have something to gain from deceiving the public about the risks.