Monday, March 07, 2011

Autism Activists Head To Trenton To Support Misguided Vaccine Bill

Autism activists in New Jersey are heading to Trenton to rally in support of a seriously misguided bill that would allow parents to avoid giving their kids critical vaccines.
The state Assembly’s Health and Senior Services Committee is holding a hearing on the bill Monday. Supporters believe parents should be able to exempt their children from vaccinations, given that studies have yet to prove that the shots don’t have detrimental affects on some people, such as causing autism.

“When it comes to vaccines and autism, the science has not caught up,” said Louise Habakus, co-editor of the recently published Vaccine Epidemic and one of the organizers of the rally.

Opponents fear that fewer immunized children would increase the chances for diseases to spread.
No studies have shown an autism-vaccine link, and the one study that is often cited, turned out to be a total fraud. That study, carried out by Andrew Wakefield and published in the Lancet before it was fully retracted, was fraudulent in its means, methods, and statistical analysis.

Since Wakefield's original bogus study, significant time and effort has gone into trying to discern whether there is a link between vaccines and autism development, but there is no such link.

Moreover, the claimed link between thimerosol (a mercury-based preservative) that was used in the MMR vaccine and autism doesn't hold up to scrutiny either, since thimerosol was removed as preservative years ago, and the autism rates were not reduced.

What these anti-vaccine folks will do is increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks of wholly preventable diseases and cause significant economic harm. Vaccines don't just help prevent the spread of communicable diseases with the patient receiving the vaccine, but helps reduce the spread among those that the person comes in contact with.

There is absolutely no reason that diseases like whopping cough, measles, and mumps should be contracted by anyone when vaccines are so readily accessible. Yet, if this bill gets passed, it will end up increasing the chances of outbreaks and that some may require hospitalization from complications relating to the disease (including death).

Instead, these groups claim that it is their choice not to give their children vaccines, even though as a matter of public health it should be mandated. These parents ignore the reality of life before these vaccines, when these diseases ravaged the population. Because we've largely eliminated these diseases, people think that the vaccination against these diseases is no longer required.

Yet, we've repeatedly seen outbreaks occur among populations that aren't sufficiently vaccinated and allowing junk science to trump sound medical practices would affect the long term public health. This is a bill that should be defeated.

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