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Making Sense of the Autism/Vaccine Controversy

By May 30, 2007

Unless you have a score card, it can be tough to understand which vaccines are considered to be potentially problemmatic relative to autism. And even WITH a scorecard, it can be confusing. Here's why:
  • One set of advocates are concerned about the damage that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, may have had on their infants. A direct causal relationship between thimerosal and autism has never been proved to the satisfaction of the medical mainstream, but there are many parents, doctors and journalists who are convinced that the link is real. Thimerosal is no longer included in any required vaccines, and even the flu vaccine can be requested in a thimerosal-free form.
  • Another set of advocates (and I'm sure there's some overlap between the two groups!) are concerned about the damage that the MMR (mumps/measles/rubella) vaccine may have had on their 18-month-old toddlers. Again, a direct causal relationship between the MMR and autism has never been proved to the satisfaction of the medical mainstream, but many are convinced that the link is real (based in part on the fact that many children start to develop autistic symptoms around or at the same time as the vaccine is administered). It's important to note that the MMR does not contain thimerosal, but does contain live viruses.
  • Yet another group of advocates (again with overlap) argue that, causal proof aside, multiple vaccinations for infants makes no medical sense. In fact, they argue, the practice is potentially dangerous and is completely unnecessary. This same group points out that even the MMR need not be given as a single, combined shot (which may be more dangerous). Again, it's important to note that parents CAN request that the MMR be administered in separate shots over time and NOT as a single multi-vaccine.
The case being argued in June focuses specifically on the thimerosal issue. I'm no lawyer, but it seems unlikely to me that any outcome from that case will be irrelevant to cases related to the MMR vaccine - which focuses on a different medical issue.

Your thoughts?

Comments
May 30, 2007 at 10:53 am
(1) Sandy says:

it’s always going to be a controversial topic. way back in my mothers day, when vaccines first were invented and used widely to prevent horrible diseases, the idea was to save lives. vaccines have helped greatly to prevent deaths in children and diseases that debilitate and cause health issues later on in life. she has many stories about friends down the road from her house who died….. very sad. if they didn’t create a vaccine to prevent it, more friends would have died, and on into present today, but many things would have mutated by this age.

I think the idea was good, and maybe the fear of children dying and getting very ill resulted in too many vaccines. but look back to if you were a parent of yesteryear….. of that generation when these diseases were very real and children were dying. it’s very easy today to pass judgement to where and why vaccines came about, and to say there is too many. every day, viruses and bacteria’s become more drug resistant. biological warfare is real. people from other countries travel and could be carriers. third world countries have these same diseases that we haven’t experienced in the USA in many many years.

aside from that, there is no explanation as to why many kids have no affects from the vaccine schedule, and why some do. not all kids who do have autism are considered the result of their vaccines. my child did have all his vaccines, (it was my parental choice that I researched, I didn’t rely on doctors to tell me what I needed to know) was tested for heavy metals and I went a step further and had myself tested. but then my child was notably different at birth, prior to any vaccines.

it will be interesting to see the outcome of this, and hopefully in generations to come, those parents wont be questioning our choices of today.

May 30, 2007 at 10:58 am
(2) Johnny says:

Hi Lisa Jo, I’m not an advocate. I’m a chemist who specializes in heavy metal poisoning. In March a paper was published describing a case of mercury poisoning in a two year old girl. The concentration of mercury in her urine was 33.2 micrograms Hg per gram creatinine. Many children diagnosed as autistic have urine mercury levels much higher than this. Why are they labeled as autistic rather than being diagnosed and treated for Hg poisoning?

May 30, 2007 at 11:09 am
(3) autism says:

Autism is diagnosed through observation of symptoms – and at this point there’s no agreed-upon causal link between mercury and autism. So the autism diagnosis is made not on the basis of causes but on the basis of symptoms alone. Does this make sense?

May 30, 2007 at 11:59 am
(4) Sandy says:

they are two separate things although the symptoms for both are very much the same. the two, autism and HG poisoning should be considered two different medical issues. those with true autism, HG treatment wont do a bit of good, where as those with HG poisoning it may help and the child may make a full recovery.

doctors in many states also conduct other tests to rule out other mimicking disorder’s and also to be sure there isn’t a known genetic disorder before they do the evaluation for autism , but many times a doctor will only conduct the evaluation behavioral symptoms of autism and never order these tests, and that needs to be changed. if a child has not had these tests prior to a diagnoses of autism, they need to seek another opinion and doctor who will perform these other medical tests

May 30, 2007 at 2:18 pm
(5) Jim says:

Why is this even still an issue? The mercury/autism link hasn’t just failed to be demonstrated “to the satisfaction of the medical mainstream,” it has failed to be supported by any convincing, legitimate scientific evidence. The rate of autism diagnosis also has not shown any decrease, despite the fact that, under the autism=mercury theory, it should have dropped precipitously after thimerosal was removed from vaccines . (It’s been absent from most since around 2002.)

Continuing to debate this moot issue just puts more kids in peril (not only those who aren’t getting vaccinated due to this scare, but other kids, too, because of the decrease in “herd immunity”). It also distracts from, and diverts needed funds from, legitimate and viable areas of research.

(By the way, i’m not a big-pharma shill, a CDC consultant or anything else that the conspiracy theorists like to throw out there. Just a parent of a wonderful kid who happens to have been born with autism. Yes, he got all his vaccinations — after thimerosal was removed. So did his older sister, before it was removed. She doesn’t have autism.)

May 30, 2007 at 2:42 pm
(6) JoAnn says:

Thimersol is still in use today. The pharmaceutical companies supposedly filter it out before the vaccine is packaged. Thimersol was never used until the pharmaceutical companies decided on packaging vaccines in multi-dose vials. (It’s cheaper). Does the presence of mercury affect the immune response or is it a question of too many antigens given at once.

May 30, 2007 at 4:07 pm
(7) Sandy says:

respectfully, number 6 is incorrect.

Thimersoal has been used for many many years, I could look it up to be completely accurate but my guess off hand would be the 1931 that it was first used in vaccines. regardless of multi-dose vials multi dose is actually how vaccines started out way back when. and in the Depression Era, yes, it was cheaper than single doses. the issue is not cheaper, it’s actually the number of added vaccines to the schedule that many believe tipped the scale.

Thimerosal is not still used today as a preservative. it is incorrect to state a filtering system is used. this is why the topic becomes so controversial. inaccurate statements are made.

mercury itself is also found naturally in the earth. so pinpointing the exposure can be quite difficult. it’s also in many household items.

the most neurological damaging mercury is that of a vapor form.

and there still has to be another piece into this whole cause issue as to why some are affected, and some are not, why some are more severely affected while others are only mildly affected.

many questions, and no concrete answers

May 30, 2007 at 5:06 pm
(8) Johnny says:

Sandy, Thimerosal is still used as a presevative in 90% of flu shots, menningcocal, tetnus and of cousre third world country vaccines. It is used as a sterilizing agent in all of our childhood inactivated viral vaccines and filtered down to a concentration of 2000 ppb. This is then labeled as trace, which it hardly is. Thimerosal breaks down into ethyl mercury, a short chain alkyl mercury compound. It is argueably the most toxic type of mercury that exists. Ethyl mercury was used as a fungicide before it was banned due to multiple poisoning cases. You are the one making innaccurate statements, not JoAnn

January 31, 2011 at 8:09 pm
(9) Kelly says:

Thank you for knowing the truth!

May 30, 2007 at 7:57 pm
(10) Sandy says:

The flu vaccine is not a mandatory vaccine, and I myself have never had one nor has my son. They do come Thimerosal free and I know many many kids who have had them, and there was no shortage and in fact easily obtained. Thimerosal was used as a preservative.

Today, with the exception of some influenza (flu) vaccines, none of the vaccines routinely used in the U.S. to protect preschool children against 12 infectious diseases contain thimerosal as a preservative. These include vaccines that protect children from the measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), polio, influenza (flu), and pneumococcal disease. No serious harmful effects have ever been reported or found with these doses of thimerosal in vaccines. In addition, the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), polio, varicella (chickenpox) and pneumococcal conjugate (PCV) vaccines never contained thimerosal.

Trace amounts is nothing compared to the amounts it was prior to the removal, and we have already passed those expiration dates long ago. Autism is still on the rise. I am not here to argue causes, just provide facts. The most dangerous forms of mercury are as a vapor or in a finely divided state (as caused by a spill or splash) that is a non arguable fact.

I rarely post when I cannot provide correct information. I am not really here to speak about third world countries since we are speaking about the USA, however I will say third world countries are lucky to get any vaccines, and if asked would they want an alive child with autism, or a dead child because you lacked vaccines, I myself opted for the alive child.

May 30, 2007 at 8:03 pm
(11) Sheila says:

Actually, thimerosol is not currently in vaccines manufactured (since late 2001/early 2002), however, my son (born in 2005) has received vaccines (all but 2) manufactured prior to the removal of the preservative. Check your lot numbers and dates of manufacturing on your shot records! I believe this is why there has not been a downward trend of autism since this time. I’m not anti-vaccination – just pro-safe vaccination.

May 30, 2007 at 8:17 pm
(12) Sandy says:

The removal of Thimerosal began in 1999 and the expiration dates were at the end year of 2003 for any vaccine still containing Thimersosal. A lawsuit alone can be filed against a doctor who gave a child expired anything, including vaccines. All parents should be pro-active in their child medical treatment including not trusting someone else’s eyes for reading.

May 31, 2007 at 12:39 pm
(13) Johnny says:

Go to this website and count for your self the number of vaccines that contain the full amount of mercury.
http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm Then there are more than ten that contain this qualifing statement:
“This product should be considered equivalent to thimerosal-free products. This vaccine may contain trace amounts (

June 1, 2007 at 7:50 am
(14) Sandy says:

Thanks for the link but I myself don’t rely on web sites to gain accurate information. I did go to the site however and did count, all of these are trace amounts but the flu (which lists the Thimerosal-free) and if you look, there is only DTwP (or DTaP), (3 in 1 vac which includes Tetanus) DT, and Tetanus Toxoid (infants generally do not get this as a single vaccine and by the way unlike diseases, tetanus is still a threat in everyday life) with that trace amount. You’d have to pay attention to the USA child vaccine schedule also to understand these.

Point is however, they do not use Thimerosal in the manufacturing of childhood vaccines and quite frankly the truth is you can find way more than a trace in every day life, if you know where to look.

Trace amounts are probably not the cause of autism still on the rise, and the idea behind Thimerosal was a few vaccines seemed to be safe, until they added two or three more to the schedule. That is the claim of many, once they added more to the vaccine schedule, all of a sudden autism was extremely apparent, not before that. But it may not be the Thimerosal at all, it could be something else used in manufacturing of vaccines that tipped that scale, something else that the body couldn’t metabolize or a combination of ingredients. So while everyone is focusing only on Thimerosal, you’re limiting and excluding many other valid aspects within vaccines.

June 3, 2007 at 8:47 am
(15) Caroline Dixwell Cabot says:

Please read to review the most recent published scientific studies:
Changing the Course of Autism: A Scientific Approach for Parents and Physicians by Bryan Jepson, Katie Wright, and Jane Johnson (Paperback – Jul 25, 2007)
Buy new: $18.95 $14.78
In Stock
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/105-7805835-2294816?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Changing+the+Course+of+Autism&Go.x=7&Go.y=8

June 3, 2007 at 12:49 pm
(16) Sandy says:

Isn’t it interesting that on the cover of this book it states Katie Wright of Autism Speaks, which is false advertisement. Just recently her parents made a statement ‘Katie Wright is not a spokesperson for Autism Speaks’? Katie Wright isn’t even on the board of Autism Speaks. I wonder if her parents are aware of this book as they weren’t of an interview.

June 5, 2007 at 10:57 am
(17) Bill says:

I read an article in the N Y Times Stating that mothers with a college degree are less likely to have their children vaccinated at an early age then mothers without. And { I don’t know the truth of this statement ] That pediatricians don’t have their children vaccinated early either.

June 5, 2007 at 12:37 pm
(18) Heidi says:

Sandy Do you have a child or an family member with Autism because fact or not let me tell you. The vaccines are dangerous. My son was talk being himself tell after his MMR and Last hep shot. So all these facts you are spiting out and everything else There is a fact for you. My son was poisoned by someone trying to make a extra buck….

June 5, 2007 at 12:50 pm
(19) Heidi says:

Caroline thanks for the web page and Johnny you to Thanks!

And on the cover of the book it states daughter of founder of Autism Speaks. Not Katie Wright of Autism Speaks. so there is another fact for you

June 5, 2007 at 1:22 pm
(20) Sandy says:

well, the cover of the book when I clicked on it said exactly what I posted it said. I imagine it was recently changed in view of recent controversy within Autism Speaks. The fact is, it was altered and I again, find that interesting. Thanks for bringing it to my attention that it was altered. Now I’ll go check on other area’s to see what else is altered due to the aftermath of this Autism Speaks mess. Thank you very much for pointing out that fact. It was very helpful.

I have a child, diagnosed at age 3 with severe autism and was non verbal with behaviors flying all over the place, gut issues and other medical issues. However my son is not part of this topic. I would not target your child nor would I want mine targeted. The facts for your child is for your child, and may not include mine or other’s. I have never disagreed with any parents opinion as to what they believe caused autism for their child. There are about 100 plus theories out there as to causes and as of today, no concrete answers for autism, and since I only know my child I cant really argue or disagree with what’s going on with yours, can I? Nor have I.

I generally have questions about all theories and researched them all, not just this controversial particular one. But it just so happens this topic is the topic currently. When the topic changes, I am sure to post to them as well :)

June 5, 2007 at 10:09 pm
(21) Sandy says:

seems the UK Amazon site hasn’t changed or altered the cover yet. this is what I seen on Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Changing-Course-Autism-Scientific-Physicians/dp/1591810612

I’m a little sadden no one thought to look this up first to see for themselves. there are also many other sites that reflect what I seen and before the Autism Speaks statement (sorry to add to that other topic, it really belongs there) so you see, what I had said was correct. anyone who owns this book, it may be worth some money one day if you have the unedited version

June 11, 2007 at 1:42 pm
(22) stacey says:

I truely appriciate all takes on this matter as there is SO much to be weighed in on. I once was the parent who believed that all this was bunk. When my son was diagnosed with autism and developmental delays, I took him to every specialist and they all said, “nobody knows why”. When my second son was dignosed with autism and developmental delays, I did a comprehensive family history chart including aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone I could find going back 3 to 5 generations (depending on the line). I found nothing. When a third son was diagnosed with autism and developmental delays, I started looking elsewhere. I am nowhere near getting satisfactory answers and I have been told I probably never will, but I will never stop looking into all the latest PROVEN reasearch. If I can figure out why my three children all have this, perhaps another mother somewhere won’t have to look so hard…

October 23, 2007 at 1:15 pm
(23) Dr. Sesh says:

Johnny, despite being a heavy metal chemist etc. you are emotionally involved in this and the pre-judgment shows. People dont report data as 2000 ppb, as it is the same as 2 ppm. As a science editor, I would not permit that. The shock value of a large number 2000 misleads the uninformed. It was done in many legal cases to startle the jury with a big number. This technique can be used further; why not call it 2,000,000 ppt (parts per trillion)? Units of measurement do matter. One cant get away with statements like “I lifted (phew) 10,000 mg and broke my back,” as it is just 10 grams.
As for the autism cases with mercury, all we have is a weak correlation which is very far away from proof. Statistically, Bruce Ames (cancer researcher) even conducted a TV set size to a rare cancer correlation in a region and found a weak one! When so many variables are involved, it tends to take a mighty long time to figure anything out; sometimes we may never…

June 7, 2008 at 11:07 pm
(24) Betsy says:

I have been reading about a possible link of ultrasound use in pregnancy and autism. The correlation of when ultrasound was first during pregnancy and the huge rise in autism is staggering and deserves much more study.

February 1, 2011 at 11:05 am
(25) AKoerner says:

This is patently ridiculous. Ultrasounds came into general use around the same time Autism Spectrum Disorders were being defined. Probably more kids who would have once just been considered a little odd are now diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. That doesn’t mean they don’t actually have an ASD, but that it was previously under-diagnosed.

Repeat after me: correlation does not equal causation.

August 25, 2009 at 2:48 pm
(26) Jude says:

Who in God’s name would believe anything the pharmaceutical companies report! They are in this for PROFITS period. Google Vaccines contaminated with sterilizing agent in third world countries. Check out Tamiflu deaths in Japan.

Duh- Senate Bill 3 – S 1873 -[ Bio defense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005] Put drug firms BEYOND reach of law should your child become LOST in the Black Hole of Autism! In 1981 Connaught Lab a DPT vaccine mfg included in their product insert “Sids has occurred in infants – due to the Aluminum. Sorry the greedy pharmaceutical companies aren’t spending ANY money filtering out anything!

Shortcuts for all new vaccines and drugs are in place to RUSH vaccines to mkt. Convenient. My brother was dancing, singing, and picking out tunes on the piano BEFORE his last set of booster shots. He disappeared after four days of fever. Doctors told my parents he had a hearing problem – then that he was just slow yada yada. By age 12 he had deteriorated (becoming violent) and had to be institutionalized.

My brother was MURDERED first by the vaccine, and then at age 21 by supposed ‘caregivers’ in the institution where he was placed. Did you know that the Amish children who recieve NO vaccines have NO autism – and also a group in the Chicago area (medical doctors) that have treated over 36,000 children of professional parents etc who DO NOT believe in vaccinations. NO autism!!

Also RITALIN – this is insane. I wonder if parents Google, The Truth About Ritalin!! Did you know that if your child is given this his/her records now have them diagnosed with a mental health disorder! Too bad if they intend on making the military a career or any other sensitive career.

WHY don’t school authorities tell parents this. Also – it appears (flu shots) that the epidemic of Alzheimer Disease is linked to those receiving flu shots ten years in a row/ besides indulging in DIET sodas/nutra sweet/ equal all with contain Aspartame.

Google Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle and Aspartame. People are basically truthful good people – they can’t entertain the thought that their lives are meaningless in the corporate huckster world. As for me – I trust nobody. Children ONLY have their parents to protect them. WHY if there’s the smallest chance would anybody RISK destroying their lives forever??

February 1, 2011 at 11:32 am
(27) AKoerner says:

Amish children aren’t diagnosed as autistic because they don’t go to modern physicians.

0.9 percent of US 8 year olds are diagnosed with autism. This is less then the 1.1 percent of US adults diagnosed with schizophrenia and the 2.6 percent of US adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Autism is four times more common in boys than in girls. Boys and girls physically and chemically are very similar before age 5, which is when autism develops. Why would a vaccine selectively affect boys? This doesn’t make sense unless autism is genetic; which is also supported by cases of multiple children in the same family developing autism.

Some children who have not received vaccines have developed autism anyway. Just because it makes sense in your mind doesn’t make it true or indicative of a conspiracy by Big Pharma and doctors. You really think no one would have forward in the 80-odd years vaccines have been available to tell the world about Big Pharma corruption? Wakefield was a sensation in the media even though what he had to say was so “damning”. Of course, this was before he was found to have falsified his data, but don’t you think a similar story would garner just as much media attention? Alas, this has not happened.

There is no credible scientific evidence that anything about vaccines causes autism. Give it up, fund other research. Stop beating this dead horse.

October 10, 2009 at 2:52 am
(28) sandy says:

Thank God for Jude!!! The reason the rates haven’t gone done yet is because the drug companies slowly decreased their mercury-filled vaccines first. Then, they simply replaced the mercury/thimerosal with aluminum. Look up the side effects for that metal. This is the reason the rates are not decreasing. They also sent any excess over to third world countries. How nice!!! Now, autism is exploding in areas where there was none. If vaccines are not a contributing factor to autism, then how do you explain the fact that Amish children do not get autism and they are not vaccinated!!

February 1, 2011 at 11:48 am
(29) AKoerner says:

What is your source for this “Amish children don’t have autism” thing?

This study found an autism rate of 1 in 271 children between the ages of 5 and 18 in two Amish communities. Also, the Amish do vaccinate at a similar rate to the general population.

Rather than assume vaccines are the cause here too though, consider that this rate of autism is less than half that of the general population. The Amish do tend to be more genetically homogeneous than the general population, and therefore may not have the same prevalence of genetic markers for autism (pure speculation, but since everyone else here is doing it, what the hell)

Check your sources, don’t believe everything you think.

November 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm
(30) Vicky Powis says:

Sometimes we all need to just come to the acceptance that our child has autism it may not be down to anything…its the way it is. Anger doesn’t solve the issue but we can only deal with it in the best way possible.

January 31, 2011 at 5:00 pm
(31) Raptor says:

First, the Amish do vaccinate. Autism is caused by genetics, they are pinpointing down which ones, but there are several involved, thus accounting for the spectrum of autism. As for the Amish, the reason their autism rates are lower is because they are less likely to carry the autism genes. That said, this study has been done of kids who are vaccinated vs kids who are not (entire towns wouldn’t vaccinate, making them perfect case studies). Results – the autism rates are exactly the same.. the death rates, however, are drastically different. These kids are dying of what were once rare diseases and are being mangled and disfigured from them. Mercury poisoning (which, btw, you can swallow whole mercury – there’s only a very certain family of mercury that is dangerous), has very specific symptoms. Even if thermisal was used and then removed, your child would be exposed to far more mercury (and from the dangerous family, no less) by eating a tuna fish sandwich. The body has the ability to clean itself of this toxin as it is rare, but common enough. As stated before, the dangerous state is in the vapor form, where it enters the lungs and goes directly to the brain. And, the signs of mercury poisoning including insanity followed by death (mad as a hatter)… not autism… look them up, they are well known. As for too many too soon.. hehe.. if your child eats dirt (and they will) or licks the floor or sticks their fingers in their mouths or eats snot.. they were just exposed to far more antigens than are in a vaccine… thousands of times more. There is a very rare reaction to vaccines, rare, like 1 in a 100,000, is known by doctors. It has very specific reaction and why they have you stick around for a few minutes after you’ve had any shot. It’s rare, but treatable if caught quickly.

February 1, 2011 at 11:56 am
(32) AKoerner says:

THANK YOU. I posted my comment above before I read this one. You’re more articulate than me, haha.

Interesting side-note; I’m sure you know this, but others may not: The phrase “Mad as a hatter” came about because hatters (people who make hats) used mercury in the hat making process, and it produced shaking, mood swings and anti-social behavior, causing others to assume they were mad, as in crazy.

January 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm
(33) Raptor says:

Btw… this – Because it happened after, there for it was because of – is not a valid argument. It’s like saying, because my child had icecream before he fell off his bike, the icecream caused him to fall off. BTW, the idiot who started all of this, Wakefield, has been called a fraud. He faked the results in his paper.. and he greatly violated the trust of parents and children doing unnecessary invasive procedures on them. And, if you follow the money, as I always hear.. he was doing it all for the money. As to pharmacies making money on vaccines.. they actually lose money on them. If they really wanted to make money, they would let everyone get sick with a virus, because the anti-viral drugs cost more.. and everyone would want one. Viruses cannot be treated with penicillin.

January 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm
(34) Kelly says:

The statement that vaccines no longer contain Thimerasol (49.6% Mercury is false. 22 of the 36 vaccines kids get by age 3 contain mercury. I called the CDC myself and acted like a concerned person and went shot by shot.

January 31, 2011 at 11:40 pm
(35) Johann says:

Yes, the medical industry is in it for profits and is not that trustworthy. (I wish it were otherwise.) They are also not complete blithering idiots – can we say product liability suits? However, there is no credible scientific evidence that vaccines are at fault for autism or for the other claims of the anti-vaccination folks.

The article leans over backwards to present a “balanced” view of the “controversy.” That gives the anti-vaccination contingent far too much credibility. I wonder whether most of the “many doctors” who think the link is real are homeopaths or other doctors who practice “alternate medicine” and lack real medical knowledge. If all the facts indicate that the sun rises in the east, is it good journalism to give equal weight to a few who insist it rises in the west, despite no proof for their assertions?

The reality is that the facts show overwhelmingly that vaccines are harmless to over 99.99 percent of children. Maybe 1 in 10,000 has a minor reaction and fewer than 1 in a million die from vaccine related causes. Nothing is perfect. I am old enough to remember polio, had an uncle who died of smallpox as a child, and had measles and a number of other childhood illnesses myself before the vaccines were available. Both my father-in-law and an aunt had polio, since back then there was no vaccine yet. I’m sure that both of them would rather have had the vaccine than to be crippled for life by polio.

If there is even one death in a million vaccinations, it’s regrettable, but tens of thousands who would have died without vaccines will live, not to mention the many thousands who won’t suffer long term damage from these diseases.

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