2008 saw the publication of more studies refuting a link, and yet there’s been a call for more studies—-among the $1 billion in research initiatives noted in the Strategic Plan of the IACC is an item about the “different health outcomes in vaccinated, unvaccinated and alternatively-vaccinated groups”—so it’s not as if this particular topic is going to go away.
I know there are folks who read my blog that are in the anti-vaccine camp, so it must be frustrating to always see me take up the other side. I feel obliged to continue, though, because science has a hard time arguing against emotion, and it seems like the argument for a vaccine-autism link is based on emotions. More from Kristina Chew:
Of the 3,393 or so posts I’ve written here, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds have been on vaccines. In the course of writing those posts, and reading about vaccines, about autism, about vaccines and autism, and about what people think about vaccines and autism and about why people think there’s a connection between their child becoming autistic and vaccines, the one thing I’ve mostly been left with is a sense of need—-a sense of needing to know—-of searching for the one answer about why and how this happened—-of needing to do the right thing. In an age when every single step of child rearing ... is not only scrutinized—-is written about in books, magazines, and websites galore, parents seem more and more haunted by the need to get it right.
The autism diagnosis is so devastating that parents are always going to look for something to blame. Vaccines have become an easy target. The same thing happens with other diseases that have often-mysterious causes: cancer, SIDS, Alzheimer's disease.
One place where I will disagree with Dr. Chew is in the area of good parenting. Parents with disabled kids are, for the most part, awesome parents. They don't have a choice. I have more patience with my children than I ever believed I could possibly have. The nature of raising a child with a disability made me go back to my reservoir of patience, dig it out and expand it, and let it fill up even more. There are people who can't handle it--the stories of abuse and murder of autistic children prove it--but those of us who get up every morning (and in the middle of the night) and keep providing love and care for children with very challenging demands are great parents. We need to give ourselves that affirmation every day.