There has been prevalent rise in the rate of autism in the country. The rise is defined as an autism epidemic because the rate at which the mental disorder is escalating is brisk. Furthermore, the causal factors for the rapid rate in the prevalence of the disease are unidentified. However, no proof has been availed that indicates that the increasing number of autism cases is attributed to any other thing aside from deliberately widened indicative criteria combined with intense public awareness and augmented case findings. Assessing the article, Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism, by Heyworth enables one to know the reasons behind the assumption that pervasiveness of autism is caused by the utilization of vaccinations by the public.
In his article, Heyworth (2011) asserts that childhood vaccinations are supported enormously by the medical community. Despite the notion that there is a causal relation between the prevalence of autism and the use of vaccinations, evidence vehemently denies this claim. According to Heyworth, there is a coincidental connection between schedules for immunization and autism diagnostics since the disease is predisposed to young children. Moreover, rejecting vaccination for trepidation of autism puts the unvaccinated child at risk as well as the community because formerly controlled maladies such as whooping cough and measles have resurfaced in unvaccinated children populace.
Most parents blame the vaccinations given to their children as a causative for the mental disorder. The reason behind this is the significant increase in the number of autism diagnostics, which correlates, with the considerable increase for immunizations children accept. Heyworth (2011) asserts that children get double the injections they receive compared to 1980. Furthermore, the danger of the vaccinations was highlighted by a British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield, who stated that the vaccines given to children contained an ingredient called Thimerosal. The ingredient is a preservative that included mercury. Wakefield was able to deduce this by studying 12 children who experienced intestinal problems linked to autism after vaccination (Wakefield, 2010).
Because of the presence of mercury in the vaccinations, parents concluded that the mercury accrued to dangerous quantities, which then led to autism. Although the ingredient, Thimerosal, was not indicated to have any relation to autism, it was detached from every vaccine except the influenza vaccine. Despite the removal of the ingredient, the rates of autism continued to increase (Heyworth, 2011). Furthermore, parents were influenced by Jenny McCarthy’s case whose son was diagnosed with autism around the same time he received vaccination. This motivated parents to continue assuming that vaccines were directly linked to autism because of the media attention that supported McCarthy’s claims.
Moreover, the irrefutable fact that vaccines cause adverse side effects proved to be a strong ground for parents to relate autism to vaccination. This is supported by a national survey conducted in 2010 based on opinion regarding vaccinations and their relation to autism. According to the survey, 54 percent of parents expressed concerns regarding the adverse side effects of vaccinations. The survey also indicated that 25 percent of parents sampled agreed that vaccines lead to autism (Heyworth, 2011). Despite the fact that diseases portray potential to cause severe side effects resulting to fatalities in many children than use of vaccines, parents still assert that vaccines are dangerous and therefore opt out their children out of vaccinations thus exposing them to the same diseases that cause even greater side effects and increased number of deaths among children.
Despite the involvement of the medical community in the advocacy and provision of immunizations for safety and protection of communities from dangerous and contagious diseases, a number of parents are still convinced that immunizations are unsafe and can cause autism. Furthermore, such parents even hinder educational institutions such as schools from effecting vaccinations on their children, which can cause great harm to the children if a contagious disease were to strike. It is important for parents to utilize the information provided to prevent the occurrences of outbreaks among their children.
Heyworth, K.K. (2011) Vaccines do not Cause Autism. In D. Haugen, & S. Musser (Eds.), Epidemics (151-155). Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Wakefield, A. J. (2010). Callous disregard: Autism and vaccines — the truth behind a tragedy. New York: Skyhorse Pub.