Jenny McCarthy was on the Bonnie Hunt show today. Jenny has a son with autism and has been very vocal about the role she feels vaccines played in her son's condition. I really appreciate the attention she brings to autism awareness, but the vaccine argument is controversial and, I think, dangerous.
Minnesota had three reported deaths from measles last year. In two of the cases, the parents had chosen not to have their children vaccinated.
As parents we need to be educated, aware, and brave when it comes to standing up for the health of our children. No doubt about it. But at this time, research cannot find a link between autism and thimerosal, a preservative in the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine which has not been used since 2001.
Now look. Did I swallow hard before this shot was given to Toddler D? Oh, heck yeah. I did my home research on the Internet. I talked to Early Childhood Special Educators. I talked to my doctor. Most importantly, I thought about Colin before and after his MMR shot.
Colin was Colin the day he was born. He came into this life stubborn and fighting and distracted in his own little world . . . before the shot and after.
I do not for one minute mean to tell you that those parents who feel that the vaccine triggered autism symptoms in their children are wrong. I don't. But for me as I sat in the doctor's office waiting for Toddler D to have his shot, the bottom line was this: Would I rather lose my kid to autism . . . or death? Preventable death.
I chose the shot and I don't regret it either time.