Ask Dr. Sears: Vaccines and Autism

Ask Dr. Sears: Vaccines and Autism 1

Please welcome Dr. Bob Sears back to Metropolitan Mama.

Sears is a nationally known pediatrician, father of three, and author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. Sears has graciously offered to extend his expertise about vaccines through a monthly column where YOU ask the questions…and he answers them. See the bottom of this post for details about how you can submit a question.

If you want more information now, you should really just buy his book (read my review here). It’s comprehensive, objective, and the only one of its kind on the market.

Today’s question was sent in by Jen.

QUESTION: My question is about vaccines and autism.  I have a friend who swears that her daughter became autistic because of her vaccines. (Is that possible?!?) What are your thoughts on the vaccines and autism issue?

ANSWER FROM DR. SEARS: The reason that many families with autism believe that vaccines may play a role is that some seemingly normal and healthy toddlers regress into autism between 12 and 18 months. The problems appear to begin after the MMR vaccine (given at 12 or 15 months). The measles component of this vaccine has been shown by some researchers to cause an intestinal measles infection that they suspect may be a trigger for autism.

This theory has not been proven, and the research that suggests a possible connection has come under a lot of fire and has been discredited by most professionals. No one, however, has repeated this research in order to try to prove that kids with autism don’t have a measles intestinal infection. The problem is, even if we some day do discover measles is a problem in autism, we won’t actually know if the virus is actually a cause of autism or simply happens to be there.

Another theoretical connection between vaccines and autism may have been mercury. But now that mercury is out of all vaccines (as long as you know which brands of the flu shot to stay away from), this is no longer a concern for parents today.

The final possible (but unproven) connection may be an overload of the various chemicals all given together at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months in the standard vaccine schedule. We just don’t know whether or not this could trigger autism. Researchers are currently working on ways to test every baby’s genetics and immune system at birth to screen out babies that may be susceptible to damage from chemical overload. We can then be more careful with such infants, both with vaccines and other aspects of daily life. This technology is years away, however.

Ask Dr. Sears: Vaccines and Autism 2Until we learn more, parents are faced with making a decision based on the information we have now. In The Vaccine Book, Dr. Bob Sears presents all the current research on these issues, and offers parents a variety of ways they can vaccinate their children while minimizing risks and side effects. For more information, and a preview of the book, visit www.TheVaccineBook.com

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If you have a question about vaccines for Dr. Sears, send an e-mail with “Ask Dr. Sears” in the subject line to stephanie@metropolitanmama.net.

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20 comments on “Ask Dr. Sears: Vaccines and Autism”

  1. Vaccinations are a form of allergy roulette. Trace amounts of protein remain from the culture medium and the mixed vegetable and animal oils used in the adjuvant. None of this needs appear on the vaccine insert since it is a protected trade secret. Some of you might remember when the food industry had this protection. It caused a big uproar about secret recipes having to be disclosed, etc. Well, the food industry no longer has that protection. Why are we allowing the vaccine manufacturers to make stuff that is injected into our babies and us and not even our physician knows what's in it??!

  2. I enjoy all of the Sears books! I am a mother of 3 children and have decided not to vaccinate any longer, I have read lots of research about Vaccinations and feel that as long as we as parents learn the fundamentals of good nutrition and forming strong immune systems in ourselves and our children we can fight off anything! It is the natural way and the only way in my eyes. For some of you parents who would like to read a great article go to Dr. Russel Blaylocks wellness report, he says that the greatest health risk to americans is VACCINES! he explains it very well...and he's a very reliable resource, check him out! Good luck and I respect everyone's decision, I am firm on mine. and also check out Juice Plus on the home page of askdrsears.com it's great! My whole family takes it ")

  3. My son was born premature at 2 lbs. When I finally took him home from the hospital, I was not even thinking about vaccines until I went to the doctor for a check up and they walked into the room with 3 needles. I asked what they were for and they explained all of the viruses they contained and they were going to inject him all at once. I told them that when he had just gotten over RSV, he was tested to see if he had developed any titers to the virus and he had not so of course, he got it again. I asked them if his immune system is so underdeveloped at this age, how could he handle so many viruses at once. I did not even think I could handle this many at one time. How many did they give me when I was little at one time? 1-2? Is that why austism is on the rise? I refused them and told them they could give them to him when he was larger, more developed, and he was never going to get that many at one time. They spread them out over many months. It was no problem to do it in a few visits vs. all at one visit. Common sense tells you, something so small and just developing CANNOT HANDLE THIS MUCH STRESS ON THEIR SYSTEMS.

  4. To follow up on the previous post.......it makes sense to me that a small baby cannot fight off these viruses and so many at one time. How about just trying a schedule spaced out over months so that the system in our children is not overwhelmed, especially in a premature infant. I was shocked, appalled and could not believe that they would want to give my son so many injections and viruses. I think if they would have done it, he would have been autistic. Instead, he is a wonderful, healthy, happy, intelligent, interactive (not hyperactive) child who is a joy to be around. That does not require any money, research, etc., and could be tested very easily.

  5. Thanks for all of the great information. It does seem like autism may have a genetic component that could be triggered by vaccines. I think it's important that parents do their own research and decide whether they want to maybe break up the vaccines too. It will be interesting to see what researchers find as the research continutes. There's also a great discussion about autism and vaccines at http://www.opposingviews.com/questions/are-autism-and-vaccines-linked. Experts from both sides debate the issue and provide rebuttals to the other side's arguments. Lots of good information!

  6. If anyone is interested....I split the MMR into three individual vaccines over time. It took me awhile to find a place that sells them individually. Our pediatrician didn't even know that you could get them that way. It is the Hopewell Pharmacy in New Jersey. Their website is http://www.hopewellrx.com you can e-mail them or call. I had to have my pediatrician fax a prescription to them and then they will call you for payment.
    I just wanted to pass this info along. It helped me.

  7. As the mother of a now 12-year-old girl with Aspergers Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum or sometimes referred to as high functioning autism, I have some thoughts on this...

    My feeling is that my daughter exhibits traits that both my husband and I have on a much lesser scale. I have the sensory issues and he has the word finding issues. Neither of us had issues so bad that we couldn't cope in life and were/are quite successful (he has a very successful career; I've been a full-time mom since our daughter was born but was very successful career-wise prior to having a full-time mommy job). However, our daughter has issues in spades. I feel pretty certain that in our case, her autism was inherited.

    I am a proponent of vaccines because I think they do help prevent a lot of pretty deadly things and to put it bluntly, I'd rather have my daughter and deal with autism than not have her at all.

    I am not sure if vaccines play a role but I am open to it. My daughter received her vaccines when likely she was exposed to the mercury although I don't recall any severe reactions or changes in behavior other than some delayed speech but I didn't at the time link it to any vaccine.

    That said, my mother died before my daughter was diagnosed so I can't ask her this in detail but I do recall her talking at length about a negative reaction I had to an MMR vaccine and that it kick-started severe allergies and that I never had the follow-up vaccination due to this. (My pregnancy testing showed that I had the immunity anyway however.)

    I've not heard this proposed anywhere else and this is just my theory....So, I'm wondering if some people are just genetically more prone than others to have an allergic reaction or the like and that for each generation the effect multiplies so that what was once a small effect and not very noticeable become magnified for each following generation. I feel pretty certain that this is the case. Just like we know medicine is not tolerated by everyone exactly the same way and we don't know why, it is probably so with vaccines. But I don't think it's worth risking whole communities reverting back to the dark ages before vaccines to cut them out entirely. However, I do think if we went back to fewer vaccines such as in the late 1960s and early 70s that we could have the same protection and less risk to children. I don't feel confident that all the increases in the number of vaccines we give to kids have really had a proportional improvement in public health. Just my thoughts....

    I have a blog but I don't write about autism on it because my daughter is very sensitive and so high functioning that she prefers to be very private. But it's nice to voice my idea somewhere...I really wouldn't be surprised if eventually someone publishes something like this as the final theory for the increase in autism.

  8. Oh boy, this topic sure has the possibility of getting sticky, doesn't it? But yet, it's still such an important one to speak about.

    My opinion is that ALL vaccines are toxic. All one has to do is pick up *his* book and read the ingredients or do some research on your own...when you understand how toxic the ingredients are it's eye opening...when you add those toxins into the mix of the bad junk we breath in, eat and drink it can be down right over loading on any body.

    His book actually made me feel even better about my decision not to vaccinate. I wish our vaccines were safe but until they are I won't put them in my childrens bodies any longer...and that goes for the flu shots too.

    I wish more PED's would just admit that we need safe and green vaccines. Saying that doesn't mean they can't still back vaccines but just them admitting that we (as parents) deserve better "protection" againts diseases than we have right now.

    I also wish there would be more talk about vaccines being harmful past just Autism. I'm happy that there is so much media attention about this subject but there are so many more childhood diseases and issues that could be linked to the toxins in vaccines.

    My two --- three cents ;)

  9. Thank you! We really like Dr. Bob...we're going to see him in a few weeks for our son's 12 month appt. From personal experience Dr. Bob has been informative and supportive of all the decisions (including those related to vaccinations) we've made with our son. We are so blessed to have been referred to him after experiencing much anguish with 2 previous pediatricians who were unsupportive of our choices.

  10. Hi Steph:

    Not sure if you know, but my 5 year old has autism. He was my fifth biological child and I could tell early on he was "different" though I suspect most parents would not have noticed the things I picked up on. I only picked up on them, because I had nursed four children previously and had a good feel for how intense the bonding between a nursing child and its mother.

    My son did not bond to me in the same way. He made eye contact, but not as much as my other children. There were a of slight differences. My son NEVER had immunizations at his early check-ups and never had the MMR until after he was diagnosed with autism (after he was 2).

    I told my doctors he had autism at age 6 months, but they did not believe me at the time. They could not see what I could. My son could speak a few words, such as "Love you mama" up until he was about 15 months old. At that time he went into a MAJOR regression and quit speaking. He could only shrill. His anger, frustrations, and quirky behaviors INCREASED. He started having more and more meltdowns.

    I believe this is "age induced" regression in autism that coincidentally occurs at the same time as the MMR shot. However, my son did not have the MMR shot at that age and still regressed.

    Anyhow, I am not saying that immunizations are harmless. I think they can have issues. Thus the reason my son did not have his immunizations at an early age. I am not against them, but I take precautions.

    By the way, my nonverbal son with autism, now speaks, loves other children, and rarely has meltdowns. A combination of nutrition and methods we tried at home, with no help from professionals. There was trial and error. We still go through trial and error with him everytime we have to find a solution.

    We are very blessed by God! Some people never know the joy of being stretched by an autistic child...we do and it has changed us for the better!!!

    Blessings to you Steph!!! Enjoyed this article very much!

    1. Thanks for your input, we have similar experiences with our daughter, diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and PDD. She had a large hole in her heart fixed at age 4 through "open heart surgery" earlier than that she never hit her milestones and was developmentally delayed. I have been treating her as tough she has autism with nutrition and biomedical treatments without the help of a doctor ( I researched heavily). I only do treatments that can not cause her harm, we have done extensive therapies, OT, PT, and ST since age one. She has always progressed, but much more since her heart surgery ( almost immediately after). She was 1 month premature and only 5 pounds, so I wonder if vaccines played any part due to that or her poor methylation /sulphation system. She never regressed after a vaccine, but was severely globally delayed. I am getting titers for all of her vaccines, and am worried about vaccinating prior to kindergarten ( fear of regression as noted in a lot of my research). I am an RN and I believe in vaccines, but am not sure that they are a one size fits all. My eldest daughter has had no problems with vaccines at all.

  11. I love the Sears.. I use all the books and the website frequently. My kids are no vaccinated and I did enjoy his book. I will look forward to reading this weekly. Thanks.

  12. Thanks for this post. I'm disappointed that he says mercury is out of all vaccines (even mentioning the caveat that they aren't out of the flu), because it's simply not the truth. Even some of the other vaccines still have trace amounts which new research is showing is still toxic.

    The reason so many parents believe the vaccines caused their autism is not because of the age of it happening, but because often times their child becomes autistic within days or even hours following the vaccine.

    I totally agree that parents need to decide things based on the information we have now, the problem is that we do have information now showing the toxicity creating this "toxic tipping point" (in large part due to vaccines, and various other environmental toxins) is in fact what led to many childrens' autism. The information is out there, but big people with deep pockets don't want the average parent to know about it.

  13. I am so glad that you posted about this. We are coming up on the 12 month shots for my son and this has been on my mind often as of late. I am definitely going to buy this book. And I am very grateful to have wonderful doctors like Dr. Sears to lead the way. Thanks Steph!

  14. This is something that I really worry about, being a mom of 2 boys, since boys are more prone to be autistic. It is so hard to know what the right thing to do is!

  15. this is one of my soap boxes and this description is one of...or maybe THE best description of the theories behind a possible link. I just LOVE that a doc is willing to consider that there MIGHT be a link...that is progress. :-) thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Thanks for this post, I have a friend due in just over a week and she's researching autism and vaccines. I've sent her a link to this page.

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