HARRISON, N.Y. - Frevisse Hitchcock's son Barnaby turned one on Monday and was another week away from receiving his measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. His mother said the autism from vaccination debate was no cause for alarm and did her homework on the matter.
"We weighed the pros and cons and I'm still taking him," Hitchcock said. "He will be better protected in the end."
Vaccinated children develop immunities without suffering from the actual diseases the vaccines prevent, so it seems there would be no reason not to vaccinate. Some parents, however, might believe there are links between the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, and autism, despite scientific studies conducted by major health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization that have failed to show any causal link between the two.
The study that supposedly found the link was exposed as a fraud in 2010 and debunked when it was retracted from the medical journal that published the story and the doctor who conducted the study had his license to practice revoked.
A study published late last year by the Centers for Disease Control showed that death rates for 13 diseases preventable by childhood vaccinations are at an all-time low in the United States.
Vaccines are safe and effective in preventing debilitating diseases but there have been recent stirrings of some diseases making comebacks with deadly outcomes.
Earlier this year California endured the largest whooping cough outbreak in 65 years, sickening almost 9,500 people and killing 10 infants. And so far this year, there have been more cases of measles in the United States than any year since 1996.
"I could understand the concern of some parents," Hitchcock said. "But the research suggests otherwise. There's nothing to worry about."
E-mail town reporter Phil Corso at PCorso@TheDailyHarrison.com .
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