Dear anti-vaxxers: Study shows not vaccinating your kids increases risk for autism and disease

Measles outbreak, vaccines

A surge in the anti-vaxxer movement in twelve + states has been facilitated by misinformation on social media and a wave of “fake news.” Meanwhile, in the real news, one of the largest studies ever of the vaccine against the measles in 657,461 children finds there is no correlation between vaccines and increased risk for autism. In fact, vaccinated kids are actually at less risk, both for autism and for deadly diseases.

From NPR:

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“The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism,” the authors write in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “We believe our results offer reassurance and provide reliable data.”

In the Danish study of kids born between 1999 and 2010, kids who got a vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) developed autism at a lower rate.

From NBC News:

“Kids who got the MMR vaccine were seven percent less likely to develop autism than children who didn’t get vaccinated, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Furthermore, if kids had no vaccines at all, their risk was much higher:

“…children who had no childhood vaccinations were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids who did get recommended vaccinations.”

Other factors that put kids at higher risk for autism include having an autistic sibling, but it’s unrelated to vaccines. In that case, they are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with autism themselves.

Interestingly, boys are four times more likely to be autistic than girls.

Thanks to parents who have decided for illogical reasons that vaccines cause autism, outbreaks of the deadly measles disease are happening in parts of the country like the Pacific Northwest. Why? In Oregon and Washington, the law currently allows parents to opt out of vaccinating their kids.

Although the disease was eradicated in the United States in 2000, it’s making a comeback, putting thousands of kids at risk of death.

In Portland, it has become so bad that some parents are literally afraid to leave the house because of the outbreak.

“Portland prides itself on being so progressive, and yet it’s like we’re back in the 1890s,” said parent, Ryan Brady.

“People are freaked out. Parents with babies are scared to leave the house—and I don’t blame them. The parents who caused this are just plain irresponsible. You can raise your kids however you want. But this is a choice that affects other people’s children,” said Brady.

Maybe one of the big problems is that parents have forgotten how dangerous and deadly viruses like the measles are thanks to the success of vaccines. Unfortunately, they are putting themselves at risk of having first-hand experience with the disease that goes something like this:

“It starts with a fever that can last a couple of days, followed by a cough, runny nose, and pink eye. A rash develops on the face and neck and then spreads to the rest of the body. In severe cases, pneumonia and encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, can develop.”

These parents need to see the gruesome details themselves. Thanks to vaccines, they haven’t had to think about it:

 

Dr. Saad Omer was one of the authors who wrote an editorial accompanying the release of the study in the in the Annals of Internal Medicine. He hopes that the finding will help doctors discuss the matter with concerned parents.

“Physicians should do what they do best. They should follow the emerging evidence – including that in vaccine communication science – and use it in their interactions with their patients and as public health advocates,” Omer wrote.

Anti-vaxxers are putting their kids at risk for deadly diseases. But they are also endangering kids in their communities. They aren’t preventing autism. In fact, they are only making matters worse on that front as well.

It’s time to listen to experts and put aside the fascination for contrarian fake news because the cost will be catastrophic if we don’t.

Watch Dr. Saad Omer discuss the vaccine debate with a mother who says she regrets not vaccinating her child below:


Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube