Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vaccines, kids, autism, and Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition

What a title! Now to explain it. One day while looking at things on Twitter, I came across the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition. I was impressed! People who know what they are talking about and work hard to get children life-saving vaccines? Sounds nifty! And to make the rest of the story short, I asked for and was given the chance to interview them by e-mail. So, without further delay....

What and who is the Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition?
The Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) is a state-wide independent, nonprofit organization that works to promote improved access, delivery and demand for childhood vaccinations to keep Colorado’s kids healthy.

Parents often have questions about vaccines. New parents want to know when their child needs to be vaccinated. Some parents need assistance in finding free or low-cost vaccines. Other parents have questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

CCIC is here to answer those questions with accurate, credible and current information about the vaccines that keep kids healthy. The organization welcomes all questions and dialogue about vaccines.

To learn more about childhood vaccines, become a CCIC member or make a donation, visit http://www.childrensimmunizaiton.org or any of our social media channels:
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/ImmunizeCOKids
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/ImmunizeCOKids
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/ImmunizeCOKids
Mom Blog – http://Coloradomom2mom.wordpress.com

Where does the funding come from?
CCIC and its membership are committed to avoiding conflict of interest or even its appearance in accepting financial support from corporations with vested interests in how consumers, the health care community, and education professionals regard their products. To assure that conflicts of interest do not occur, CCIC's Board of Directors has determined that acceptance of general or targeted gifts from any source, and CCIC's subsequent relationship to these donors, shall be governed by our Gift and Sponsorship Acceptance Policy. CCIC does not accept funds from businesses that manufacture or distribute vaccines. To see a full list of our supporters and read our annual report visit http://www.childrensimmunization.org/supporters.

What vaccines would you recommend infants receive?
We recommend that parents follow the CDC recommended vaccine schedule - http://www.childrensimmunization.org/vaccineschedule - for their child’s vaccination. Vaccines save lives and it’s important to follow this tried, tested and true schedule.

Are they safe?

Vaccines are among the safest things we do for infants and children. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccines in history. Vaccines are tested for years before they can be used by doctors. Once they are being used, vaccines are continually monitored for safety. We vaccinate to save lives and without them countless children would not have the gift of good health.

What is your opinion of the alternative schedule proposed by Dr. Sears?

The biggest medical problem with the delayed schedule is that it leaves babies open to disease for a longer period of time. If a baby is vaccinated by the CDC’s tried, tested and true vaccine schedule, that baby will have immunity to over 14 diseases by the age of two! With the CDC recommended schedule, babies visit their doctor five times in the first 15 months and receive protection against up to 14 diseases in as little as 18 shots if using combination vaccines, or as many as 26 shots if using individual antigens.

We immunize children so young against these diseases because infancy is the time period that kids are MOST vulnerable to life-threatening diseases. The people at greatest risk of dying from vaccine-preventable disease are the very young and the very old. We vaccinate to save lives.

On the delayed schedule, by 15 months of age children will have only received immunity against eight diseases. They miss out on measles, rubella, chickenpox, Hep A, and Hep B. By 15 months, children on this delayed schedule are given 17 shots and visit the doctor’s office 9 times - almost twice as many visits to the doctor as the CDC schedule.

Is there any scientific proof of vaccines causing autism?

No. I wish I could end there, but parents deserve proof.

We have been battling the false connection between MMR and Autism for over a decade. It all started in 1998 with Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his survey of 12 children in which he concluded that 6 of the 9 children’s parent or physician linked the onset of developmental regression with the administration of the MMR shot. This study set off the fire storm around the MMR vaccine and this study has been closely scrutinized and questioned.

It is to be noted that by 2004 10 of 11 of Dr. Wakefield’s co-authors had retracted the interpretation and just this year, the Sunday Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5683671.ece) reveled evidence that Wakefield fixed the data of his 1998 study.

As good stewards of science and holding public health as its number one priority, in fall 2000 the CDC and National Institutes of Health convened to examine the MMR vaccine to see if it did cause autism. After examination of the science behind the issue,
“they rejected the causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and ASD based on the facts that there was a lack of epidermologicic evidence and lack of biologic models.”

Other countries also examined this issue, trying to recreate Dr. Wakefield’s results. The JSPN article outlines numerous studies which have examined this issue. Here are a few highlights:

In 2002, scientists in Denmark studies over one million children and found no difference in the risk of autism between MMR-vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

To pile on more evidence, even through Japan has withdrawn the MMR vaccine in 1993, autism rates continues to increase there.

In February of this year, The US Court of Federal Claims found that “after reviewing 5,000 pates of transcripts, 939 medical articles, 50 expert reports and hearing testimony from 28 experts” that MMR and thimerosal-containing vaccines do not cause autism.

Just recently on September 22, 2009, the National Health Service (NHS) Information Centre found that autism rates are consistent among adults is identical the rates of autism among children -at about 1%.

Autism is a serious concern for America’s children. Autism is continuing to increase even though we’ve eliminated MMR as a cause. We need to put funding and attention to finding preventative measures and treatment for these children that goes beyond vaccines.

7 comments:

Michelle S. said...

thanks for this. it's interesting. we talked a little about autism when i was college but completely different when having a child with autism in my classroom and very different from the romanticized autism you see in movies like forest gump and rain man

Kristine said...

When I had my son, and again when I had my daughter, I read everything I possibly could on the subject before making a decision. I was very convinced that vaccines are not the issue as there would be many more people with autism since all students must be immunized to enter school. My children received all of their immunizations on time, and my daughter is currently 15 months old and has all of her immunizations, including H1N1. She is a typically developing child still, and my son has developmental delays, still. They still are who they are. I think the problem may be more along the lines of all the chemicals being added to food, or maybe some sort of genetic issue...the truth is, nobody knows, and honestly, even if I knew why my son has the problems that he has, it still wouldn't change that we will always have to face many challenges...but that gives us the opportunity to celebrate every tiny thing. :)

Kate said...

Thank you for posting about this! I wish more people were aware that correlation is not causation.

Wired.com had a great article about the anti-vaccine movement.
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/ff_waronscience/all/1

Corrie Howe said...

I'm impressed with how you are keeping track and interviewing people and organizations regarding autism. I'm curious how your faith helps you with your autism.

autie said...

Corrie, that's a great question! I should make a post about that. :)

Thanks for the idea, the post should be up very soon!

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