, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 962-963
Date: 11 Apr 2009

Parents Ask: Am I Risking Autism if I Vaccinate my Children?

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There is no evidence that autism is caused by any vaccine or any additive or preservative ever used in one. There have been large, well-controlled studies done all over the Western world that have confirmed this finding over and over again. There is no reason for any parent to deny a child the crucial protection today’s vaccines offer out of misguided fear that doing so would increase the risk for autism. Although science can never absolutely prove that something will not happen—we can’t be absolutely 100% sure that it will never snow on Jan. 1 in Kinsangani in the equatorial Congo, for instance—science can reassure us that the likelihood of certain events is vanishingly small. But apart from thinking about how tiny the risk of an action like providing children with vaccinations might be, we also need to think about the risk of taking the opposite action. What are the risks of NOT vaccinating your children?

Most parents of children today never experienced any of the classic childhood di