Plenty of individuals have strong opinions on the subject of vaccines and Autism. Some say that vaccines are dangerous and should never be given to children, while others believe that parents who shrug off vaccinations for their children are selfish and putting other people at risk. What is the truth? This article will discuss five facts about autism and vaccines to decide what you think is best for your family.
Autism symptoms show up as early as two years
The symptoms of autism can be seen before a child turns two years old, long before they would receive any vaccinations. Some children with autism regress and lose specific skills, such as talking. These periods are known as the “lost years.” This regression could be mistaken for a reaction to vaccinations such as the MMR vaccine, which contains live viruses (Shiminzu et al, 2005). There is no plausible evidence indicating that the MMR vaccine causes autism.
The original study that suggested this was retracted, and many scientists have since come forward saying the paper should never have passed review in the first place due to flawed data collection methods, among other things. Scientists who believe there may be a link between vaccines and autism are typically those whose research isn’t medical but instead comes from an engineering background, leading them down a different path of investigation than doctors with years of experience treating patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Autism can often be seen by watching how your child plays before their second birthday because they will typically play repetitively with toys rather than interact socially or explore different activities on their own. Suppose you notice any changes in behavior like these after receiving a vaccination. In that case, it may not have been caused by the shot at all but was simply due to the natural development of autism symptoms (or another reason).
No link between Vaccines and Autism: CDC
The CDC has found no link between autism and vaccines. Their findings have been replicated by scientists all over the world. A few studies have found that children who receive vaccines are less likely to develop autism than those not vaccinated. The number of vaccinations advised by the CDC has gone up and changed over time to include more shots that protect against multiple diseases at once.
This can reduce pain for children who go through these injections because they are getting exposed to fewer antigens overall, which means there is a smaller chance of an adverse reaction. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends even more vaccine doses than the CDC does today to ensure complete protection from every disease possible around the globe, so this gap will likely continue to close over time due to our better understanding of different regions and their needs. Countries with higher rates of vaccination have lower numbers of cases of autism.
Autism diagnosis speed has improved
Autism rates have increased since 1988, but this increase has nothing to do with vaccinations. The rise in autism diagnosis in the past 30 years is still not fully understood. It could be due to better awareness of ASD, which leads more children with milder cases (and previously undiagnosed) to get help. In the past, many toddlers with autism were mislabeled as having a speech delay or intellectual disability, for example.
They may have been “invisible” in the past because they weren’t diagnosed instead and adequately just appeared to be children who didn’t speak when they should have. It’s also possible that some cases of milder autism that used to go undiagnosed are now being picked up by doctors thanks to better education on ASD symptoms and screening tools available, which is why we see more diagnoses overall.
Environmental factors play a role
Environmental factors like pollution contribute to autism rates since environmental chemicals affect the developing brain. Exposure to a pesticide called chlorpyrifos has been linked directly with autistic behaviors in children, which is concerning because this chemical can still be found on our food and farm products even today despite solid evidence of its harmful effects. (Kofman et al, 2017) This information should make us all think twice about what we buy at the grocery store, especially parents worried about their child’s future health.
Some studies have strongly suggested that the use of glyphosate (the active ingredient in most weed killers) can also affect the developing brain, so it’s essential to consider how our food was grown if we want to avoid this chemical at all costs. (Zhong Wei et al, 2020)
Glyphosate was introduced commercially during the 1970s, and its use has since increased by 100-fold, which may help explain why autism rates have also increased significantly during this time frame. This correlation could be purely coincidental. It could mean that glyphosate is causing autism in humans, so more research needs to be done on how these chemicals might affect our brain chemistry and overall health.
Data from other countries contradict
There is no correlation between vaccinations and autism rates in different countries around the world. This was another critical fact that experts looked at when understanding if vaccines were linked with autism. What they found may surprise some people who are still convinced that vaccinations can lead to developmental disorders like autism. (Wong et al, 2017).
Children in countries with high vaccination rates also have lower rates of autism than those living in regions with low vaccination coverage (that’s how data scientists describe this relationship between two variables). This data shows that vaccinations are not likely to cause autism even if parents think they might factor in their child’s diagnosis. If anything, scientists need more information from different places around the globe before concluding vaccinations and autism.
More solid research needs to be conducted on how autism starts in the brain and what environmental factors cause it. Parents should also consider these facts if they’re worried about their child’s future health because there is no evidence right now that vaccinations could lead directly to an autism diagnosis or symptoms later in life (even with multiple shots).
CDC. (2021). Vaccines do not cause autism.
Zhong Wei et al. (2020). Maternal glyphosate exposure and Autism.
Shiminzu et al. (2005). No effect of MMR withdrawal on Autism.
Kofman et al. (2017). Prenatal chlorpyrifos and Autism.
Retrieved from; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12940-017-0251-3
Wong et al. (2014). The Variation of Psychopharmacological Prescription Rates for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 30 Countries.
Retrieved from; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/aur.1391
Last Updated on October 11, 2021