Sunday, November 10, 2002

Hey, doctors know best, right?

I guess we're all feeling pretty relieved now that Danish researchers have declared, unequivocally and once and for all, that vaccines and autism have nothing to do with one another. Phew! What a load off our minds that is. Bring on the needles! Far be it for us to worry needlessly over our children's well-being when medical science gives us the final word. Because health researchers are never, ever wrong. Just ask anybody who's ever been on hormone replacement therapy...

You know, the thing is, I'm not really even all that sure myself that there's a connection between autism and vaccines. And I'm not all that sure that not vaccinating your child against potentially devastating diseases is a responsible course of action for parents to take when that connection is so uncertain. But I've heard enough anecdotal evidence to convince me that there's some smoke here, and somebody should be looking for the fire. And the medical profession's utter indifference to that just ticks me off. This latest research and the confident headlines that accompanied it reminded me of an "ER" episode a few seasons back in which a child died of measles because his mother had deliberately not had him vaccinated due to fears of autism. Dr. Carter was about as black-and-white convinced that she was wrong as the Danish researchers seem to be. And if answers in the real world were as easy to come by as they are on TV, we'd have no worries at all.

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