Last week, parents including those associated with the group Moms Against Mercury marched in Washington D. C. to express their concerns about the possible connection between vaccines and childhood autism. The parents are also troubled by the vaccine schedule which requires a child to have fourteen vaccines in the first two years of his or her life.
Paul Offit, the Chief of Infectious Diseases, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the author of the forthcoming Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure, argues that there is no connection between autism and vaccines and that delaying or withholding vaccines endangers the child.
In a CBS report on the march, Offit said, “There is no advantage to spacing out, delaying or withholding vaccines. The only thing that will come of that kind of behavior will be allowing for a period of time to occur when children are at risk of vaccine preventable diseases.”
Offit’s view is based on the most up-to-date scientific and medical research and echoes the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics who see no link between autism and vaccines. Moreover, according to the Center for Disease Control, these vaccines save an estimated 33,000 lives a year.
This is an important and contentious issue and we will be writing more about it over the next few months in anticipation of Offit’s book which will be published in September. We also have created a short film for the book in which Offit explains his position and the dangers of parents being misled on this issue.