Health Editor’s Note: Okay, some misinformed people do not get their children vaccinated because they think/have been told that the vaccinations will give their children autism. How about this side of the double edged sword? Statistics are showing that autistic children are being under-vaccinated. No wait, these are children with autism and they have never had a vaccination and yet they are autistic????
So the false scare that vaccinations will cause autism also keeps families of autistic children from having the child vaccinated against diseases such as: polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis, hepatitis B, influenza, haemophilus influenza b (HIB), pneumoccocal conjugate (PCV13) VIS, and chickenpox (varicella) which WILL harm and can kill. Any of these diseases, that are prevented by a vaccine, can be deadly or cause serious life-time limitations for a child.
Do you see my confusion in what is causing autism? Autistic children, who have never been vaccinated, were still autistic. Hmmmmmmmmm…..Carol
Autistic Kids Often Undervaccinated
Have anti-vaxxers made parents ‘gun shy’?
by F. Perry Wilson MD, MSCE
A new study appearing in JAMA Pediatrics demonstrates high rates of undervaccination among children with autism — and their younger siblings. In this 150-Second Analysis, F. Perry Wilson, MD, suggests that these findings represent an especially unfortunate aspect of the anti-vaccination movement that disproportionately hurts families of children with autism.
There’s a particularly insidious effect of the anti-vaccination movement that becomes starkly evident with this study, appearing in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Kids with autism, and their siblings, are less likely to be vaccinated after the diagnosis.
The study used data from the Vaccine Datalink — this is a continually-updated database that tracks vaccination rates and a host of other factors across eight comprehensive healthcare sites around the country (though quite a few of the eight are Kaiser sites in California).
Using validated diagnosis codes, the researchers identified 3,729 children with autism spectrum disorder – a huge number for this type of research – and 592,907 children without a diagnosis. They then looked at vaccination rates over time.
At 4-6 years of age, just 5.9% of the control kids were undervaccinated (which means they did not receive all of the recommended vaccinations within the recommended time interval). In contrast, 18.4% of the kids with autism were undervaccinated.
The findings reached down into the siblings of kids with autism as well. Again at 4-6 years, just over 5% of the control siblings were undervaccinated compared to 17% of the siblings of kids with autism.
So — why is this happening? There are essentially 2 possible interpretations of the data. One is that factors that lead families to under-vaccinate children are associated with autism. You could make an argument for this, autism rates are higher among older parents, for instance, who might have more fixed beliefs about vaccination schedules.
But the more likely explanation, in my opinion, is that once a family has a child with autism, the persistent and, let me just say it, false information linking autism with vaccination makes them “gun shy” both for their child affected with the syndrome, and for siblings down the line.
This is not good. Kids with autism are more likely to be hospitalized than other children, and might have a higher risk of infection. Vaccines may be particularly beneficial in this cohort. Moreover, the increasing networks of parents and kids with autism, so positive for providing support, may represent an epidemiologic risk factor if a high proportion of undervaccinated children are aggregating together. It is sad to see that a movement based on discredited and occasionally fraudulent data has adversely affected healthy kids.
But there’s something even worse when you see anti-vax beliefs negatively impact the very kids these organizations purport to be championing.
- Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE, is an assistant professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine. He is a MedPage Today reviewer, and in addition to his video analyses, he authors a blog, The Methods Man. You can follow @methodsmanmd on Twitter.
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.