Recently Dr. Daniel Neides, a family physician and executive in the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, published an article that attacked what he considered the overuse of vaccines and seemed to support the connection between childhood vaccines and autism. Since the Clinic is one of the top medical centers in the US, this article naturally created a stir since the doctor’s affiliation with it gave his views greater credibility. But many experts criticized what they considered his shoddy and poor understanding of science and the Clinic quickly dissociated itself from the opinions expressed.
Brie Zeltner, a reporter for the Plain Dealer took the opportunity to ask many experts what exactly the state of knowledge was about the vaccines and the speculated autism connection and published an excellent article in Q/A form that answered some of the issues that are used to scare people, such as whether vaccines trigger autism, why the embalming chemical formaldehyde is used in vaccines, why vaccines that treat STDs are used on infants, why there are so many more autism cases diagnosed in recent years, and the reason for the belief that there is a correlation between giving the vaccine and the onset of autism.
Here’s one response to the question: Can babies’ immune systems handle so many vaccines?
Yes, they can. It seems like babies, because they’re still developing, might be more sensitive to things. But any baby who came into the world unprepared to deal with germs, allergens, bacteria and viruses wouldn’t survive very long.
Every day, a healthy baby’s immune system fights off millions of germs. Vaccinations introduce only tiny amounts of a potential attacker — an inactivated (i.e. dead) virus, a weakened virus, or a piece of a virus or bacteria.
Compared to even the simple act of eating, breathing, and touching surfaces, these exposures are less than a drop in a very, very large bucket.
“Vaccinations are one of the triumphs of pediatrics and public health,” [Dr. Fred Volkmar, director of the Yale University Child Study Center and an expert on autism spectrum disorders] said. Because so many kids get vaccines at regular intervals now though, it’s easy to mistakenly associate the shots with just about anything that goes wrong in development, he said.
This article is a useful reference if you have to ever deal with a vaccine skeptic.