I was never convinced that the MMR vaccine caused Autism. Max showed symptoms of Autism from the age of 6 months on (way before he had the MMR). It seemed far fetched to me that the answer was so obvious. If the MMR was a known cause of Autism, wouldn’t every doctor and nurse in the universe refuse to administer it? Wouldn’t every child with Autism who had received the MMR be put in an exhaustive study to compare them against children with Autism who didn’t receive the MMR? I’m not talking about a group of 12 kids like the Lancet Study - I’m talking about thousands. Any person who passed grade 7 science class would tell you that a group of 12 kids is not enough to base a study on. Especially if those results would affect millions of children worldwide.
But that’s what happened. The results of a study that declared the MMR to be a cause of Autism - even though the results were never duplicated - had parents deciding en masse to not vaccinate their kids. The parents who already had a child with Autism who had received the MMR were left wondering if their decision to have their child vaccinated was the very reason their child had been inflicted with this terrible disorder. Add to that the celebrities masquerading as health care experts (I'm looking at you Jenny McCarthy) screaming from every media outlet that would listen that vaccinations made their kids Autistic. And they were wrong. The Lancet study was completely fabricated to support a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Smithkline Beecham. Yet there are still thousands of parents who hold onto the idea that it was the MMR that caused their child to be Autistic.
We parents of children with Autism are easy prey. We are desperate to heal our children, to figure out how to help them (be it proven methods like behaviour therapy or unproven methods like extreme diets and hyperbolic chambers). Even I delayed my daughter's vaccines. I knew there was no scientific evidence that vaccines cause Autism. I knew that Cameron was completely different than Max, with not one single symptom of Autism. But still, somewhere in the back of my mind, was the idea that the MMR could possibly contribute to her being at risk for Autism. As I said, we're easy prey. But perhaps I am being too hard on myself. I have a child with Autism and I know devastating it is. I would do ANYTHING to avoid having another child with this disorder, even risking exposing her to other diseases.
It isn't just parents of children with Autism who made health care decisions based on the findings of the fraudulent Lancet study. Parents of neurotypical children all over the world have decided not to have their children vaccinated for fear of their child becoming Autistic. I wish I could begin to describe the disgust I feel for the study's authors and the fear mongering tactics they used to take advantage of a population of people desperate for answers. What the Autism community needs is legitimate research that will discover the true causes of Autism. The answers are out there - avoiding vaccinating your child is not one of them.