SLU doctor's study: No autism, vaccination link

10:10 AM, Jan 30, 2012   |    comments
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By Pat McGonigle

St. Louis (KSDK) -- A new study, set to appear Monday in Missouri Medicine, the medical journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, will urge parents to get their child vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella.

Dr. Kenneth Haller, a pediatrician with Saint Louis University Hospital, also encourages parents and doctors to have open discussions about the MMR vaccine.

The article is titled, "I've heard some things that scare me", and reflects that many parents are still concerned that the MRR vaccine could cause autism in some children. That notion spread after a British study claimed there was a connection between autism and the vaccine. The medical community has since discredited that British study.

"The evidence is clear, vaccines are safe they are effective, they do prevent illness and I really want to make sure that parents feel free to share their fears without being judged by their doctors," said Dr. Haller. "But I also want to say out to doctors, take parental fears seriously. Really listen to people. Meet parents where they're at, because if we don't do that, we're never going to do the best things for all of our kids."

The local chapter of Autism Speaks released this statement on the issue:

"We strongly encourage parents to have their children vaccinated, because this will protect them against serious diseases. It remains possible that, in rare cases, immunization might trigger the onset of autism symptoms in a child with an underlying medical or genetic condition. Autism Speaks is funding studies on the underlying biology of autism, including studies to better understand medical and genetic conditions that are associated with autism."

Dr. Haller says it is so important for doctors and parents to keep an open line of communication.

"The risk from vaccinations is extremely, extremely small. The chance of your child having a bad reaction from a vaccination is really, really small. But the risk of your child getting sick from something that is preventable from a vaccination is really quite high and going up."


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