Inoculation dates back to Asia in 900 AD. Smallpox has been around for just as long. For Americans there has always been somewhat of a controversy with vaccinations. Dating back to the birth of our country, it was an issue that Thomas Jefferson took to heart and helped regulate throughout the thirteen colonies. At the time they were also battling pandemics and the eminent threat of smallpox. There were deaths associated with the inoculation; so there were those that opposed the idea of prevention through immunization. Today, we are facing a wave of people that decide not to vaccinate their children, and there is a direct correlation between the decline of vaccinations and in cases of preventable diseases. Why are people not vaccinating their children against potentially fatal, yet completely preventable disease?
I once worked with a woman that decided not to vaccinate her extremely premature daughter. I was 19 at the time and could only vaguely remember my own vaccines. As I had no children I did not consider the idea of not vaccinating a child an option. Intrigued by this idea, I asked her why she decided to not vaccinate her already sickly infant. Her answer was that vaccines are not proven to prevent disease, and could even cause the child to be more likely to become infected because they compromise the fragile immune system of children. She told me that vaccines were an excuse for the government to do experiments on civilians without them knowing, and that they had even tried to track people through the “vaccination” (as she put air quotations up), process. She was also under the impression that it could cause a developing infant to become autistic. All of these notions seemed pretty unlikely, but the link to autism struck a chord and piqued my interest further.
I come from a large family. I have seven brothers, one is my fully biological brother, and one is my half-brother. The other five are my brothers through adoption. When I was 13, my adoptive parents decided to adopt four more children, all full biological brothers, ages 4, 3, 2, and 8 months old. The oldest, Chris, had developmental problems and poor motor skills. After the adoption, and spending much more quality time with them, Chris was diagnosed with Asperger’s on the low-functioning side of the spectrum. Asperger’s is in the spectrum of autism, and can affect people to a varying degree. Chris had not been vaccinated until he was removed from his biological parent’s care and placed in state custody at the age of 3. Oddly enough, a few years later his younger brother was also diagnosed with Asperger’s, however, he is high functioning, and is literally a genius. He was vaccinated as an infant in state custody as well. (I had to ask my mom about the vaccination history of the boys.)
Where did people get the idea that vaccinations caused autism? Well, incorrect information peddled through the media and spearheaded by a celebrity of course,...