In today’s modern world immunizations are given to children to protect their bodies from harmful diseases by creating an adaptive immune response. This adaptive response can be achieved through two methods. The first is active immunity which is achieved by injecting a patient with antigens to provoke an immune response. The second is passive immunity which involves administering antibodies in antitoxins or antisera to a patient (Bauman, 2012). The activated immune system produces a reaction which eventually causes immunologic memory and a heightened response to future exposure (Bauman, 2012). This means that the patient will be sick for a shorter period of time or that they will not become sick at all. That said it is believed that immunizing children could potentially cause autism through the action of the various chemicals within the vaccine (Ratajczak, 2001). This paper will explore the various sides to the thoughts around immunizations and their link to autism.
Increasing diagnosis’s of autism are commonly attributed to children receiving vaccines. This is because the parents believe that the autism is caused by the immunization that their child received a few months prior (Doja & Roberts, 2006; Rutter, 2005). This is commonly due to the parents being uninformed about the mechanisms of a vaccine as well as being influenced by the media. The increase in autism diagnosis is caused by an increased awareness, education, and diagnostic tools available to the medical profession (Rutter, 2005). This means that the doctors are assessing children for signs of autism a few months after the administration of various vaccines (Doja, 2006).
Another perception of autism caused by vaccines stems from the belief that the copious amounts of antigens introduced to an infant who has an immature immune system causes havoc within the body. The administration of a vaccine that immunizes against multiple diseases is thought to generally overload a child’s immune system causing them to become sick (Public Health Agency of Canada [PHAC], 2012). Another hypothesis that supports this statement is the pertussis toxin in DPT vaccinations cause a chronic autoimmune monocytic infiltration within the gastrointestinal system. The toxin may cause a disconnection between mucosa lamina propia and the G-alpha protein receptors in the retinoid. This causes a non-specific immune response that cannot be down regulated (Ratajczak, 2011). Further, it is though that an organism within the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. It is thought that the live vaccine causes the vitamin A supply within a child’s body to deplete, which is a possible cause for distorted vision that autistic people have (Ratajczak, 2011).
The PHAC (2012) states that immunizations with multiple diseases provides better protection and reduces the chances of infection due to eliminating potential portals of entry. They further state that any combination vaccine has to go through extensive testing and be...