The whole debate on whether or not vaccines can cause Autism is finally going to be decided (or not) in nine separate court cases currently making their way through the system. The bigger question is whether the final decisions be based on provable scientific fact or on personal bias rooted in a psychological need to reconcile with a horrible disease.
Okay, once again I am straying from the normal music education stuff to something a little more controversial. Autism is not something that we talk about much here at MusicEdMagic, yet the condition is something of great interest to me and to educators in general. Because of this my interest was piqued when I saw a news article on Wired.com detailing the judicial process .
In essence, there are a great many people who wholeheartedly believe that the use of a preservative once used in childhood vaccines is to blame for some types of sudden onset, regressive autism. in other words, the kids were fine and became autistic only after being given doses of a preserved vaccine. Since the first of these claims were made many scientists have studied the idea and in general the theory has been proven false. Despite the apparent scientific evidence that vaccines do not cause autism, protagonists on both sides have continued to fan the flames of the issue until boiling over into the courts.
In addition to over 4,900 families filing claims in the matter, the cause has been picked up and promoted on national television by such celebrities as Oprah and Jenny McCarthy . On the other side of the aisle have been other less known national talk show hosts such as Dr. Dean Edell. Regardless of the star power that each side brings to the table one can only hope that a decision in these nine court cases will put to rest the controversy, at least in the public view. Current vaccines are safe, and I have no problems with vaccinating my children as recommended by the CDC. I am more concerned however with parents jumping on the vaccine autism bandwagon and not vaccinating the kids, eventually opening the possibility of an outbreak of forgotten diseases in our schools.
If the final results of these court cases prove that it is possible that these vaccines caused autism in these children then I will eat my words. Until then I remain on the side of published scientific research. We'll just have to wait and see on which side the coin lands.