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Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Monday, March 12, 2007

My two cents on the vaccine issue

I'm not a pediatrician, although I might end up a pediatric anesthesiologist. But I was once a budding infectious disease doc (I almost did the IM residency to do ID before I came to my senses). My basic opinion on vaccines - they rock. Since the time of Jenner and using cowpox to prevent smallpox, vaccines have been preventing serious disease in millions of people. Some diseases we vaccinate for are so rare, my generation of physician will likely never see one in a patient (unless we travel to a third world country) nor have to treat one. I just don't understand why so many people are afraid of vaccines. But they are.

One of the biggest controversies surrounds the use of thimerosal in vaccines and a supposed link to autism. The basic theory is this: they put thimerosal in the vaccines and autisim rates went up, therefore thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. An interesting thing to note is that when the vaccine in question was being introduced, the definition of autism changed making it broader. There was also more awareness of the disease, which always leads to increased diagnoses. These things could account for an increase in diagnosis completely unrelated to vaccines.

Here are two articles( 1, 2 ) from Slate regarding autism and thimerosal, one debunking the theory that thimerosal is unsafe and one focusing on the myth of an "autism epidemic".

One of my favorite bloggers (a pediatrician named Flea ) has a series of posts on autism . He has a number of very good breakdowns on the myths and facts surrounding autism.

Do'C from Autism Street has this post reviewing an article that recently appeared in Capital Times.

Respectful Insolence talks about antivaccination lunacy .

Finally, Shinga at Breath Spa For Kids, questions why people believe in vitamins but not vaccines.

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Blogger Dawn said...

Y'know, this is the first time I've heard a doctor speak out on this. I'd want to do my own reading before making any decisions of my own, but you've given me a lot to think about.

-- Dawn --

4:28 PM  

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