"There has been a lot of arguing going on. There's always a lot of arguing between the two camps in autism, but over the last couple of days it's been worse. At least that's my impression. I have some theories about why things are so heated right now, but that's another note.
As I was reading through the comments on my note "Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism," I was thinking in particular about the things that divide us as parents. The vaccine issue is huge. It is certainly not the only issue, but it seems to be the one that causes the most emotional upset, to the point where intelligent adults start acting like a bunch of unsupervised third-graders.
There is a multitude of issues regarding vaccines. Probably the biggest issue, as it relates to autism and other neurodevelopmental, immunological, gastrointestinal disorders is the overwhelming number and concentration in the ever-growing childhood schedule.
In 1983, this was the childhood vaccine schedule: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/images/schedule1983s.jpg
In 1989, this was the childhood vaccine schedule: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/images/schedule1989s.jpg
In 1994, this was the childhood vaccine schedule: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/images/schedule1994s.jpg
The explosion of sick kids began in the early 1990s. Looking at the difference in the vaccine schedules, we can see that this time frame coincides with the addition of the Hepatitis B vaccine. Recent studies have shown that any immunity conferred by the hep B vaccine series is gone within 2-5 years. Another recent study found that boys who were vaccinated against Hepatitis B were three times more likely to develop autism than boys who were not vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Hep B is a sexually transmitted disease. Infants and toddlers usually aren't out running around having sex, so there is no justification in giving this vaccine. (Note: I break down HepB here: http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2010/12/lets-learn-about-hepatitis-b-infection.html)
The childhood vaccine schedule has continued to increase in size and complexity over the last 16 years. For parents who follow the schedule, which now includes yearly flu shots beginning at six months of age, their children receive 36 separate injections, which contain 50 vaccinations by the time they enter kindergarten.
Here is the 2010 childhood vaccination schedule: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/child/0-6yrs-schedule-pr.pdf
The second issue, albeit related to the first, is that current vaccination laws force parents into an "all-or-nothing" stance. In order to claim a religious exemption you have to refuse ALL vaccinations. You can't pick and choose which make sense for your child. Many physicians will not work with parents who want to exercise caution and spread out vaccinations. Some physicians "fire" parents from the practice if they even bring up the subject. So, if you ARE concerned about measles, diptheria, polio, etc. (the "childhood diseases" everyone cites when discussing their fears about death from going unvaccinated), you ALSO have to accept having your child injected with a whole bunch of stuff he or she does not need and which may cause adverse effects. This is a very important concept. We, as concerned parents who love our children and want what's best for them, are FORCED to given them MEDICATION (vaccines are medication - you can't get them without a prescription and they contain chemicals and things designed to alter the way your body functions) they DO NOT NEED and which carries significant risk of side-effects.
We do not FORCE adults to take medication even when the HAVE an illness. There are laws to protect adults from government-mandated medication. You cannot legally force a person with schizophrenia to take anti-psychotic medication, even when that person has already displayed violent aggression to others. You can't legally force a cancer patient to take chemotherapy or radiation. If the government cannot force people to take medication when they HAVE an illness, how is it the government can force parents to consent for our infants and children to be injected with medications for illnesses they do not even have, and for which they have an extremely low risk (in many cases zero) of contracting?
Some will argue that nobody is "forcing" us to vaccinate. Thankfully, we do have some options, but we also give up a lot of our rights in the process. Many of us have to leave the workforce because our children are not allowed to attend daycare. Many of us lose our jobs because our children are so sick from vaccine-injury that we are FORCED to stay home full-time, whether that was our initial intent or not. Many of us are FORCED to become dependent on the government for financial assistance, especially if our marriages fail because the constant stress of caring for a sick child is overwhelming, financially, emotionally, and physically.
Many of us are lumped together in a big group and labeled "Anti-Vaxxers." Some of us ARE Anti-Vaxxers. Some of us have been forced into being "Anti-Vaxxers" because we have no other choice. This is not a position we have chosen for ourselves and for many of us it is not an easy stance to take. We are simply doing our own research and weighing the costs-vs-benefits for our own children. At least that's how it starts out. What happens in the process though, is we start to learn the truth about vaccines. We learn that they have not been studied for safety. We learn that they are implemented very quickly into the schedule without regard for their effects on "vulnerable populations."
As we research, we start to see patterns and we realize more and more how our children are not so rare, and how more children are being harmed everyday by mass vaccination. That's when we become increasingly vocal. That's when it becomes not just about protecting our children but about trying to protect your children, too. We realize that in many cases our concern for your children is not something you welcome. We realize that you wish we would just shut-up and go away. Many of us realize these things because we used to be you.
The reason we keep doing what we do is because we wish, beyond anything you can possibly comprehend, that someone would have done for us what we are trying to do for you.
You don't have to agree with us. You don't have to think we are right. You don't have to be our friends.
All we ask is that you give us the freedom of speech to which we are legally entitled. We have already lost so much. We need this place, and we need each other. We really do hope that you never know what it is like to be one of us. However, we also know that unless things change, our club is going to keep growing. If you become one of us, we will accept you unconditionally, and we will do everything we can to help you.
That's just what we do."