what Donald Trump has wrong about autism
By: Dr. Craig Boreman, medical director of the Autism Diagnostic Center at Dayton Children’s
Have we finally discovered the cause of autism?
According to recent political debates, that is what some of the candidates seem to believe. Donald Trump claimed that vaccinations are causing the “Autism epidemic” despite overwhelming evidence that they do not.
As a children’s hospital we overwhelmingly support the use of evidence-based treatments and preventative medicine for children. Recent comments during the Republican presidential debate are very misleading regarding the use of immunizations in children. Claims were made that immunizations may be causing autism and are potentially unsafe when administered as scheduled. These claims have been disproven by multiple well controlled studies within the medical literature.
As the director of the autism diagnostic center at Dayton Children’s, I receive questions all the time from parents about this very issue. I’d like to take a few moments to answer some of the questions and put to rest the false claims that are out there.
What were the claims and how do we know they aren’t true?
Although claims were proposed by Andrew Wakefield in the 1990’s linking the MMR vaccine to autism, decades of research have not been able to duplicate his findings and recently it was discovered that Mr. Wakefield fraudulently created his results and his work has been retracted and his medical license revoked. To date, there is no credible evidence linking any immunization to autism.
What about an alternate immunization schedule? Should we space them out more?
Other candidates suggested an alternative immunization schedule. Delaying or spacing out shots will leave a young infant/child open to potentially life-threatening diseases and will also expose them to more needle pokes. This can cause increased anxiety and fear in children for doctor’s office visits. The current immunization schedule has been researched for safety and effectiveness. Delaying immunizations does not make them safer.
I’m still scared of the side effects. Why should I vaccinate my child?
At the end of the day, vaccines save lives. According to the Dr. Remley, executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated.”
If we had a treatment that has decades of use, countless studies to show how safe it is and how well it works, and it was already saving thousands of lives per year, wouldn’t that be front page news? We do! Please protect our most valuable and vulnerable population (our children) with immunizations.