Vaccinations have been a touchy subject lately and once again the debate has taken over politics. On February 2nd Hilary Clinton tweeted, “The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork.” Hilary Clinton has long been an advocate for vaccinations, starting in 1993 with her CDC program, Vaccines for Children. There has been a lot of stories in the news lately about politicians who are questioning if we should be making vaccinations mandatory. New Jersey governor Chris Christie questioned whether measles and other diseases should be required to be vaccinated against. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has said that he has seen many healthy children end up with mental disorders due to vaccinations. The sad and scary thing about Rand Paul is that he is an ophthalmologist, he has gone to medical school and still believes in this nonsense that vaccines cause disease.
There has recently been an outbreak of measles in this country with over 100 cases of the disease, most spreading from Disneyland in Anaheim California. Scientists are blaming this outbreak on the anti-vaccination movement. Meanwhile measles is a disease that has been virtually eradicated, and hasn’t been a real concern in a very long time. This has recently become a problem because parents are refusing to vaccinate their children. They are refusing to do so because they believe that vaccines are causing autism. This belief comes from a study in which CDC has estimated that 1 in 68 children under the age of 8 have autism, a number that is 30% higher then previous estimations. This belief and the steep rise in cases of autism may come from the recent change in the DSM-V or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fifth Edition. This most recent change that happened in 2013 changed the way that autism was diagnosed and offered new guidelines on diagnosis. This change got rid of the separate labels of Autism, Asperger’s, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), and put them all under the umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder. So this now much larger number might be because instead of just one disorder three were being recorded under the same name
The idea that vaccines cause autism stems mostly from the 1990s. During the ‘90s it was thought that the vaccination MMR, which protected against measles, mumps and rubella was a cause of Autism. It was mainly thought that the use of thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines that contains mercury was the main culprit. Since that time the World Health Organization along with the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all said that they see no correlation between autism and the use of vaccinations.
Posted by Madison Boone (Group A)