Vaccinations, Autism and the ‘Link’

With my previous post I discussed the dangers of abandoning medical practices in favour of faith healing. This time, I’m taking a deeper look at the supposed link between vaccination and autism, whether there is in fact a link, plus whether or not it should be considered wise to deter people from seeking vaccinations for their children, given the potentially heavy price to pay.

It all stems from a Twitter discussion which led me to this site, by one Ginger Taylor. She has devoted a lot of time into listing a great many papers that discuss the link between vaccines and autism, among other things – and it’s such a long list that I don’t have the time to delve into detail and see what the validity is of them all. If we are take these sources at face value – and I am no way going to do that without research of my own – we ought to be asking what percentage of vaccinations cause adverse effects. Is the cost greater than the benefit?

Swinging back to what I linked to in my previous post, the Medium article by one Isabella B shows the effectiveness over time of several vaccines. Another very effective vaccine was the smallpox vaccination, which has succeeded in virtually eradicating a terrible disease.

Should there be consent around vaccines? How much freedom should there be to opt out? There are people who cannot be immunised against certain diseases because they would have allergic and potentially fatal reactions to the vaccine. In a society where vaccination ends up not taking place, these individuals are actually more vulnerable, not less, as disease spreads more easily through the population and increases the likelihood of the vulnerable party catching it. Failure to vaccinate makes the vulnerable more vulnerable, exposing them to greater risk, but then again, do parents not have a right to protect their children? Equally, what about the protection of communities as a whole? If I had decided to not vaccinate my daughter and another child at her school then caught something from her that made them very ill, would that not be my responsibility too? It’s a complicated issue.

I’ll leave you with the story of smallpox – one of the deadliest diseases the world has ever known and the first to be completely eradicated, thanks to vaccines. How different would the world be if we hadn’t taken care of it?