What We Don’t Know About Vaccines
One of the greatest achievements of Public Health are vaccines. Many deadly diseases have been practically eradicated, along with the pain, suffering and cost to society But there are other diseases whose demise has not yet come. While vaccines exist, many adults–and often children– are not getting them.
In a new government study, researchers found no evidence of a link between thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative found in some vaccines, and an increased risk of autism in children. The study analyzed data from US children born between 1994 and 1999 and enrolled in one of three managed care organizations, comparing 256 children with autism spectrum disorders with 752 children without the condition. Regardless of when a child was exposed to thimerosal, there was no increase in the risk of any type of autism spectrum disorder. In fact, children exposed to the preservative between birth and 20 months of age had slightly lower odds of developing the condition. The study’s senior author said that the results should reassure parents about following the recommended immunization schedule. The concerns about a link between vaccines and autism were first raised over a decade ago by a now-discredited report, sparking a worldwide debate among scientists and causing many parents to avoid recommended vaccines, leading to outbreaks of diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella. However, most scientists consider autism a developmental disorder likely influenced by genes, and there is no cure or good treatment for it.
No link Found Between Vaccine Mercury and Autism, Frederik Joelving, Reuters Health
Cost and Lack of Awareness Hamper Adult Vaccination Efforts, Lesley Alderman New York Times