As mentioned in part one of this series: there is no scientific evidence to support claims that vaccines for measles, mumps or rubella cause autism; nor is there any evidence vaccines cause neurological damage. But this has not dissuaded some individuals and groups from claiming there is a link. Earlier in 2015, Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky and a 2016 presidential hopeful, told CNBC “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” When Rand’s words went viral, he qualified his statement by saying he has heard of cases, not that he necessarily believes in the connection between vaccines and autism or brain damage.
One in 1000 will if not vaccinated
According to Marietta Vazquez, Yale University School of Medicine and a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, “serious adverse events can indeed occur with common vaccines, but they are exceptionally rare.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC — allergic reactions to the measles, mumps and rubella—MMR—vaccine occur at a rate of less than one in every one million doses. The diseases these vaccines prevent will cause significantly more damage if a child is not immunized against them. According to the CDC, one in 1000 children with measles will—not can—develop a swelling of the brain that can lead to convulsions and cause deafness or mental retardation; between one and two in 1,000 will die. One in 300 children who contract pertussis—whooping cough—will develop brain complications; 1.6 percent will die.
No cause, no effect
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a report summarizing all of the vaccines the CDC recommends for children. According to the report, “There is sufficient evidence to reject the link between MMR and autism, as well as a link between MMR and type 1 diabetes; between inactivated influenza vaccine and a facial nerve disorder known as Bell’s palsy; between the diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine and type 1 diabetes; and between the inactivated influenza vaccine and exacerbation of asthma.” The report did find children inoculated against chicken pox may contract the virus from the varicella vaccine. But most cases are rare. According to the report, “The vast bulk of reported problems—135 different links out of 158 studied—are so rare as to make it impossible to establish or reject a cause-and-effect relationship.”
What the anti-vaccine camp says about vaccines and brain damage
In an article titled, “Vaccines and Neurological Damage” on Mercola.com, osteopathic physician Joseph Mercola lists the following neurological disorders induced by vaccines:
|· Encephalitis||· Meningitis Paralysis||· Gullain Barre Syndrome|
|· Brain damage||· Paralytic polio||· Lupus|
|· Retardation||· Auto-immune Diseases Epilepsy||· Blindness|
|· Hyperactivity||· Convulsions – Seizures||· Deafness|
Mercola offers no scientific evidence that supports this claim. One quote is included in his article from Ted Koren, a chiropractor: “Dyslexia, minimal brain damage, ADD, autism, allergies, visual and many other neurologic diseases grouped together as ‘developmental disabilities,’ barely existed before mass vaccination programs.” But Koren provides no research to support his claim. Koren claims, “The primary cause of encephalitis in the United States and other industrialized countries is the childhood vaccination program,” but provides zero statistics to support this claim.
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