Even having the flu shot while pregnant has not been linked to an increased incidence of autistic spectrum disorders, according to numerous research. That being the case, why do parents and expectant parents continue to be on the fence about immunizing their children?
Since the late 1990s, parents have been concerned that immunizations may cause autism, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. These solutions to your most pressing concerns come in light of yet another study denying the relationship between autism and vaccinations, so take heart.
Why Is Autism Linked to Vaccines?
The mercury-containing preservative thimerosal, which was contained in many children’s immunizations as recently as the late 1990s, was a source of concern for several researchers. However, even though thimerosal had been used as an anti-contamination ingredient for decades, until 1991, the only vaccine recommended for infants and children contained thimerosal was the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP).
Vaccinations like hepatitis B and Hib, which include thimerosal, were included in the study because of concerns that kids were receiving too much of the chemical in too short a period of time, perhaps affecting their brain development.
Other researchers led by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield theorized around the same time that children who received the MMR vaccine (which never included thimerosal) had a higher risk of developing autism than those who did not. The British Medical Journal, on the other hand, has dismissed Dr. Wakefield’s work as early as January 2011.
The current consensus among scientists and medical professionals is that immunizations have no impact on the beginning of autism spectrum disorders. Vaccines have not been linked to autism in more than a dozen studies, independent of the researchers, study designs, or demographics analyzed.
Autism and the Flu Vaccine
Although thimerosal is no longer used in most flu vaccines, multidose vials may include traces of the chemical to keep bacteria, fungus, and other germs from growing during the vaccination process. The CDC warns that a syringe needle entering a vial of vaccination preparation can introduce bacteria and fungi.
Germs in the vaccination can cause severe local reactions, significant sickness, or even death if they are released into the body. Preservatives, such as thimerosal, are used in the production process of some vaccines to prevent the growth of germs.
However, thimerosal-free flu vaccines are available to parents, and scientists say they are safe for children. Except in the most extreme instances, the influenza vaccine should be administered to all children over the age of six months.
More than one study has found no link between having a flu vaccination while pregnant and an increased chance of developing an autism spectrum disease. One of these studies was published in August 2020 in Annals of Internal Medicine. At Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, babies born between October 2009 and September 2010 were studied for their health records.
There were 40,000 infants who received the H1N1 vaccine from their mothers, and 29,000 infants whose mothers were not vaccinated, who were studied. Experts found no change in the prevalence of autistic spectrum condition between the two groups after seven years. Moreover one in ten children who received the vaccine were diagnosed with autism, but less than one in ten children who were not exposed were diagnosed.
Pregnant women have an increased risk of serious disease (such as pneumonia) from influenza, so getting the flu vaccine is very crucial. The heart, lungs, and immune system are all affected by pregnancy. Consequently, to prevent influenza in the initial months of a baby’s life, the flu vaccine is an important tool.
Should I vaccinate my child?
A small but loud minority believes that vaccines cause autism despite the fact that many other prominent organizations all concur that they don’t. In certain families, vaccinations are not mandatory “simply to be safe,” fearing other possible responses, or because of religious or other convictions, in the face of contradicting information.
Your child’s risk of catching life-threatening infections is increased by not having him vaccinated, and he may even die if he does. For example, many parents stopped vaccinating their children after the MMR vaccination was first linked to autism in England—and numerous children died soon after during an outbreak of measles in Ireland. While the United States has recently been hit by an outbreak of the measles, which has affected hundreds.
Vaccination has several benefits that surpass any probable side effects or risks, according to the vast majority of medical experts.
Concerns or inquiries about the association between vaccines and autism, or the safety of vaccines in general, should be directed to your child’s pediatrician. In order to make the best decision for your child’s health, a skilled doctor will listen to your worries and help you discern between myth and fact.