Centuries ago people used to pass away very early. This was so because they did not have medicine that would help them cope with illnesses. Thus, even a small cold, when untreated, could turn into a fatal disease. Over the years people invented various types of medicine that helped them live longer and healthier lives. They also invented vaccines that prevent illnesses. It seems the humanity has got it all now, however, today we see that sometimes the medicine and vaccines that we have created not only does not help us, but can also hurt us. In this paper I would like to give an example of such case, that is – an assumption that there is a link between autism and immunization.
I have chosen the above to be the topic of my paper because I strongly relate to this issue and I (as a future mother?)am horrified by even a slight thought that the vaccines my child would receive could hurt him. Thus, I felt like I have to complete a thorough research about the topic that would lead me to form my conclusions. Moreover, I felt it was necessary to research this topic, because lately it has been the topic of much debate in the medical world – that is an indicator that it is worth discussing.
Today, vaccination, also referred to as immunization, is considered to be the most successful and cost-effective method of preventing contagious diseases. Thus, shortly after birth a child receives vaccines from various types of diseases. The answer to the question of whether immunization causes autism is unclear. There are some parties that consider it does, also there are those that speak against it, saying that this hypothesis is very controversial, and lacks any convincing scientific evidence (Rutter, M., pp. 2-3). Lower I would like to present the standpoints of both of the groups.
The arguments that regard immunization to cause autism are as follows. The Autism Research Institute claims that research on the topic of the possible link would serve to be an attempt to save the future generations of children and their parents. The researchers working at the institute consider that people refuse to believe in the link, simply because they prefer to live in denial. Moreover, they imply that vaccines causing autism would not be prohibited because of the greedy medicine workers who make a fortune in the field. The advocates of such thoughts in Autism Research Institute declare that there is evidence supporting a vaccine-autism link. The studies that have proven the link are listed by Bernard Rimland, who is the head of Autism Research Institute. He suggests that “… these studies are consistently ignored in the medical establishment’s publications claiming that there is no evidence for vaccine-caused autism (Rimland).”
Those who argument that there is no link between immunization and autism use the following arguments. Firstly, they say that no connection between autism and receiving vaccines has been proven, and vaccines are an overwhelming public good and decision to raise children without taking them to get vaccinations can be considered simply irresponsible (CDC on its National Immunization Program site). Secondly, they claim that parents tend to note the first symptoms of autism in their children when they begin to have difficulty communication or have a delay in speaking after the age of one (Newschaffer C.J., Croen L.A., Daniels J., p. 236). As many vaccines are given to the child at that same time, these two occurrences purely falsely seem to be inter-related. Thirdly, according to the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, autism is a genetic disease, thus a child is born with autism traits and can not possible acquire them after receiving his/her shots. The advocates of the above views, consider that the time and funds that are spent on the research regarding the link between immunization and autism is a waste of time, and these resources should better be invested into a different channel.
The research I have conducted has helped me to answer some of the question I had about the connection between immunization and autism. It is very hard for me to take either of the standpoints on this matter. One side of me thinks that as there is no proven link between the two occurrences, it is very irresponsible of parents not to get their children vaccinated and endanger them in this way. Though, another side of me, respects the views of those who claim and show evidence of the connection between the two. Thus, in conclusion I would like to say that this field has not been decently researched up to the present time, thus much more research has to be done and only then it would be possible to go from hypothesis to theories on this matter.