Before I say anything else about this hot-button topic, let me say this: I am not a doctor. I have no medical degree. And here on the internet, where anyone can claim to be an expert on anything, I want to make sure to clarify my qualifications.
I am, quite simply, an autism mom. This year, my husband and I decided to give Brooks the H1N1 vaccine, and I have a recommendation for all other parents. My recommendation is to make sure that you get reliable information about this vaccine. And all vaccines. From legitimate sources.
Start by reading Amy Wallace’s article, “Fear,” in this month’s Wired Magazine. I admire several aspects of her piece: it presents a litany of medical facts that are very difficult for any reasonable person to dispute; it reminds us that it is not the function of medical science to disprove that vaccines cause autism, but rather to prove that vaccines are safe; it warns us that while pharmaceutical companies have their fair share of corruption, we must not make the error of indicting them in every situation, without just cause.
According to our own Insideschools poll, 45% of parents will not give their children the H1N1 vaccine. Clearly, many parents are skeptical that it will work, and ironically, that very skepticism is making Brooks’s vaccine less effective. After all, we are now becoming a largely non-vaccinated population, meaning that my son will certainly be exposed to the virus. And vaccines don’t work 100% of the time. Some might argue that H1N1 is mild, but as more and more people are getting it, more people will develop life-threatening complications. Including more children.
Of course, there is always the chance that this flu season will blow over without much fuss and bother, and that is my sincere hope. But if it goes a different way, I also hope that we don’t have to look back and say we could have prevented it all. With something that was safe and held a very low risk.