Ask the Experts
Vaccines and Autism
My husband and I have two cousins with autism. Despite current research showing no connection between vaccines and this disorder, I’d like to delay shots for my new baby. Do you agree?
I’ll tell you what I tell my patients: There is no proof that vaccines cause autism. But there is some agreement that they may trigger autism and other problems in a small group of susceptible children. That’s why I prefer to customize a vaccination schedule for each child. This type of amended schedule is spelled out very well in 2008’s The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, by Robert Sears, M.D., but it is still loudly criticized by the American Academy of Pediatrics and some other experts.
Vaccines have contributed to the elimination of many diseases worldwide, which is why so few doctors are willing to stop, or even delay, giving them. But this doesn’t mean parents don’t need an in-depth explanation of the risks and benefits of all vaccinations.
I would put your family in a higher-risk category and voice your fears to a trusted pediatrician. You—and all parents—have a right to participate in this choice.