As a non-autistic mom to an autistic daughter, addressing the whole MMR Debate is probably the right thing to do right around now. This is not a scientific, going to provide documentation and other specific proof sort of post because I’m not in the mood. I’ve done it before and if you’re interested, there’s a link at the bottom to some of the things I’ll be referencing. Plus I have a search tool on my blog. And it’s my blog so I can include and exclude what I want. I don’t get paid for this blog. Ha.
The reason I’m addressing this now is because, of course, Measles is in the news nearly every day lately due to what started out as an outbreak that began in Disneyland. To keep it simple: unvaccinated individuals that actively had or were incubating Measles went to the amusement park and passed it along to other individuals, some of whom were vaccinated with MMR and the majority who weren’t. Of course the whole thing branches out from there and it’s getting bigger by the week.
Before I offer any opinion on this, which you can probably guess if you’re a regular reader, I need to get this out there:
Autism is not damage.
It’s not damage caused by vaccines nor birth accidents nor “bad genetics.”
It’s a difference in biology that creates a difference in neurology due to genetics.
As a child grows, the autistic traits become more noticeable. As a child grows, there may be things in the environment that trigger the traits that non-autistic people consider to be negative to occur more prominently and that’s why they’re called Environmental Factors.
Most people don’t seem to know what that means. They think Environmental Factors means “pollution, water quality, and food quality.” That’s only a partial truth.
From the WHO (World Health Organization):
Environmental health comprises those aspects of human health, including quality of life, that are determined by physical, chemical, biological, social and psychosocial factors in the environment.
I was going to say something really insulting and cutting about being anti-vax when someone is perfectly healthy but doesn’t care or understand a wit about social responsibility, but I’ll refrain.
I was going to say something that had the word “rage” in it but I realized I don’t feel rage. I feel pity.
Ok, maybe a little rage. I feel rage because people who don’t have the intelligence to at least state that they’re anti-vax because they “researched ingredients” even if they don’t know what that really means, don’t really know how to interpret what they find nor know which resources are reliable.
I feel rage because there are still people whose default position is “BUT AUTISM!” because THOSE individuals didn’t bother to find out the facts.
Or maybe these groups? they chose to ignore the facts. They choose the paranoid path that “they” give us limited information that’s not true. They think pro-vaccination standpoint is uneducated and misled.
There are some from both groups, of course, who willfully ignore actual science that’s been peer reviewed and completed by independent scientists who have no stake in the matter except finding the truth… who lose money for their efforts and aren’t affiliated with pharmaceutical enterprises.
There are those who can’t tell the difference between science and pseudoscience … and those who can but prefer the fringe and discredited pseudoscience.
There are those with “my opinion and my psychic say so” when faced with irrefutable facts and who will twist anything around to mean the opposite of what they actually mean to the point of accusing chemical biologists of making things up and being part of some “team” trying to control the masses by feeding misinformation intentionally.
Yeah. That happened just today.
OF NOTE: Never, ever read the comments underneath articles. No matter your viewpoint or opinion, just don’t read the comments.
I wrote this other post 4 1/2 years ago:
It’s even more important now because this individual, this purveyor of deceit (Wakefield) is being held up as a misunderstood man whose honest research is being twisted and lied about. It’s not.
I was so full of hope in the ability of our society to bounce back from something that was damaging to the Autism Community worldwide and now it’s even more evident that it’s damaging to ALL individuals in the world who may ever become ill from vaccine-preventable communicable diseases… that are healthy and able to be vaccinated.
My faith in people in general and yes, particular individuals, isn’t nearly so high any longer.
I think it’s important that people keep the details fresh regarding what Andrew Wakefield did: he knowingly, intentionally, and willingly perpetuated a hoax regarding the MMR vaccine by falsifying a study and a paper that would earn him fame and legitimacy in the scientific community.
Let me phrase that another way.
The MMR-Autism paper written by Wakefield was without question proven dozens of times over to be fraudulent. He committed a worldwide FRAUD and hoax by intention. On purpose. For fame and notoriety. For the money that some people think doctors and pharmaceutical companies and scientists are “in it all” for. The people who use words like Big Pharma and think eating and living without doctors or medicine or “chemicals” will prevent any illness and block all communicable diseases.
Know this: Wakefield is reviled in the scientific community because he tried to pass himself off as a legitimate scientist. This wasn’t some misunderstood poor doctor trying to help the world see that the MMR is harmful to neurology or gastroenterology for the majority of the population or even a significant segment.
He wasn’t viewed as legitimate prior to the Lancet posting that harmful, damaging, ridiculous paper and wasn’t … ISN’T viewed as legitimate by the science community afterward. The editor at the Lancet at that time didn’t catch that they had previously refused his other paper/s on other subjects that were ALSO FALSIFIED because they were in dire financial straits and needed to publish something. It was simply bad timing that Wakefield (I can still barely type his name without wanting to disinfect my fingers and keyboard) submitted that horrifyingly damaging paper. Within the past 2 years the Lancet retracted that paper and apologized.
All that said:
There needs to be a dialogue about Vaccine Safety. If there’s anything this entire debacle has shown the United States this is true.
I’ve always been of the state of mind that we need to know what medicines we’re giving our children, why we’re giving them, how they’ll affect our children, how necessary they are, and the efficacy.
I’ve always believed that even if parents make ridiculous choices we ARE entitled to choose how we parent.
We need to get more people to figure out that short term side effects are not vaccine injuries.
We need to get people to figure out that correlation of timeframe and other events is not causation.
That opinion is not fact.
In regards to vaccines, I would not liken them to pulling a trigger on a gun if we do inject our children or if we don’t by risking them to highly communicable diseases unnecessarily. I detest that comparison when either the pro or anti sides use it. The fact is that vaccine injury and allergies exist but in a miniscule segment of the population. The personal stories people tell make it appear like a lot but personal interpretation leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and exaggerations in retelling.
However: When we demand that The Government steps in to legislate and compel people to have medical procedures done, to take medicines we would otherwise refuse, we are going down a slippery slope. We are giving away freedoms that once we give them away will be nearly impossible to get back. It becomes easier and easier to give more and more freedoms away.
And when we legislate medical procedures and medicine, we’re infringing very closely on causing harm to individuals who literally medically would die if they were forced to undergo what the majority of the population would be safe with. We would be forcing a need for them to waste precious time and money litigating their way out of medical procedures. We have enough of that occurring already with disabled individuals that we presume are incompetent because “we know better.”
I think it’s one of the most important conversations that we can have with each other.
I’ll be honest, though… the instant someone says “Big Pharma” they’ve lost all credibility and all I hear after that is “blah blah blah invalid paranoia blah.”
As soon as someone automatically and broadly tells me that science, scientists and doctors are all in on some enormous worldwide conspiracy with The Government/s to make us all sick and give us cancer in order to make money and control us, they’ve lost all credibility.
As soon as someone tells me that I simply haven’t done the “right” research, and that their propaganda with pseudoscience and their wacky holistic family practitioner who thinks catching moonlight in a GMO-free poison ivy leaf bowl is good medicine is a great scientific resource and their web site should be “looked into” they’re no longer credible.
When I’m told that their opinions are more educated and valuable than peer reviewed scientific research that has been supported repeatedly… well you get the idea.
I think that dialogue mainly needs to occur with our doctors regularly. I think our nation needs to stop being afraid of education and science.
Living a paranoid life sucks. The MMR Debate and Vaccine Versus Autism Debate are NOT the ways to go about discussing Vaccine Safety. If you want to debate MMR and its veracity, don’t ever attach Autism to it.
First and foremost this is because while Autism might be a difficult neurological difference for individuals to live with (not the parents, the individuals themselves) causing them various disabilities of varying degrees at various times, Autism is not a tragedy. Ever. It is not a vaccine injury. It is not damage.
I’m really tired at the moment, so I’m sure I’ve missed a lot that I wanted to address and probably didn’t say all of what I wanted to very eloquently or with as few words as I should have. Or, you know, succinctly. 🙂
Edited for grammar. ♡