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Discussing the controversy of vaccines and their potential link to disease such as autism - Essay Example

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Since 1999 there has been a controversy about whether thimerosal –containing vaccines contribute to the causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) in children. One of the reasons for the controversy was that some British researchers had…
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Discussing the controversy of vaccines and their potential link to disease such as autism
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Download file to see previous pages This however has left a fear in parents of vaccinating their children. There has been a lot of research and information put forward since then to allay these fears. The conclusion of all the research done is that there is no empirical evidence to show a direct link between vaccine and autism. On the contrary there are more reports providing sufficient proof that vaccines are safe. It is understandable however that parents will remain skeptical and concerned.
The major ingredient in these vaccines that has been cited as a possibility for causing autism is thimerosal. Multidose vaccines posed a potential threat of contamination to children many years ago. Thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, was therefore added to vaccines at low concentrations in the 1930s to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth and to protect the immunized from infections at the site of the immunization. However it is a mercury-based preservative. But it contains ethylmercury and not methylmercury. There have been no existing guidelines for the safe amount of ethylmercury in the human body and so the guidelines for methylmercury were used on the false assumption that the body handles them both in the same way. This led to confusion, believing that ethylmercury would have the same possibly harmful effects on humans as methylmercury.
Around the same time a report from the California Department of Developmental Services indicated a rise in autism over the years which was later described as an epidemic. (Weber, 2008). This led to even firmer belief by some parents that there was a connection between the vaccines and autism, although there was still no scientific proof. As Weber states “A report in 2004 by the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is no association between autism and MMR vaccine, or between autism and thimerosal” She further states that, “there is no conclusive evidence that any vaccine or vaccine additive increases the risk of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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