Throughout, I've found myself pummeled by both sides, as I attempt to take the position of a "vaccine moderate."
What does this mean?
On the one hand, I acknowledge readily that the vast preponderance of science-based evidence makes it highly unlikely that there is a consistent, large-scale direct connection between vaccines and autism. No, I don't think that kids who begin developing autistic symptoms six months after a vaccination are likely to be vaccine damaged. No, I don't think that an intolerance to wheat or dairy proves anything relative to vaccines (though of course I think it's a great idea to take a child with food intolerances off the offending food!). What's more, I am certain that any risk to the general population from vaccines is less than the risk from a resurgence of diseases like polio and diphtheria.
On the other hand... knowing that there are risks and benefits related all medical treatments, and knowing that there are children who are badly injured by vaccines overall, I believe that a very small number of autism-related claims of vaccine injury are probably for real. I suspect it is possible to create safer vaccines, to revisit the vaccine schedule with potential injuries in mind, and to discuss vaccinations intelligently with concerned parents. I can't understand what stands in the way of a well-conceived study that (at least in theory) shows that unvaccinated children are diagnosed with autism at the same rate as vaccinated children. I'd love to see some research into possible vulnerabilities that could lead to vaccine injuries. And I am baffled by the apparent unwillingness of the medical mainstream to seriously investigate credible anecdotal evidence of vaccine-related regression.
In short, I see reason on all sides of the issue -- though I stand squarely in neither camp.
As I've stated these perspectives over time, I've found surprisingly little support. I'm not sure whether that's because "vaccine moderates" tend not to write much about their moderate views (compared to those with stronger opinions) or whether I'm really in the minority.
What's your perspective? Is it possible to be a vaccine-autism moderate?