Autism and Vaccinations

Sorry to disappoint some of the folks who will Google their way here:  It’s not about the connection, it’s about lack thereof.  Just wanted to let everyone know that, for the first time in my career, I saw an unvaccinated child with clear features of Autism Spectrum Disorder — between high-functioning Autism and significant Asperger’s syndrome.  Now, considering that I have far fewer than 150 unvaccinated children in my practice, and that 1 in 150 is the commonly accepted figure for ASD prevalence, this argues for at least as high a rate in unvaccinated as in vaccinated children.

Which brings me to, why do people think it’s the vaccines?

Sorry again; you ain’t gonna like the answer.

ASD is, for all practical purposes, a learning disability limited to interpersonal relationships.  Among other things, people with even mild  ASD cannot tell when someone is lying to them.  We responsible physicians tell them ASD is about genetics and parent age.  Translation: your children are growing up just like you but more so.

It’s as if we were saying: It’s all your fault.
From the other side, they are bombarded with another message.  Whether it’s MMR, mercury or microwaves, absence of evidence of connection is not interpreted as evidence of absence.  The more myths are debunked, the more fervently they are cherished, for at their core is this:

Someone did this to your child.

And what parent would not cling to that?

My own concerns with vaccines have nothing to do with either their safety or their efficacy.  I am concerned with the recent trend to require universal vaccination against diseases that are not significantly dangerous but rather unpleasant, which require school or work absence and medical care but are not likely to result in death or lasting damage.  I suspect that, as more children are crammed into day care for longer periods of time, other viruses will take their place — Norwalk and enteroviruses for Rotavirus,  Adenovirus for flu — negating the improvement from the vaccines.  Only if the current trend to place more and more children in day care is reversed will we see fewer sick children — and then the vaccines will really help.


Flu is here!

We had our first clearly positive flu patient, a 2 year old who had one dose of injectable vaccine, with a 102 degree fever and no other signs. The rapid flu test was clearly positive for Flu type B.

Take home message:

(1) CDC recommends 2 doses of flu vaccine, 1 month apart, for certain patients, such as those under 9 years of age receiving the vaccine for the first time;

(2) Injectable vaccine is less effective than the nasal vaccine in preventing flu, but it is highly effective at preventing complications and hospitalizations;

(3) We have both, and will be happy to help you to select the right one for your needs.

(4) Two resources to find out about flu activity in our area:

Stay healthy!