Kristin Cavallari is the newest celebrity to publicly state her fears over vaccinations being correlated to autism, which is the reason she did not vaccinate her first born, and will not be vaccinating the child she carries. Cavallari went on Fox Business and stated that she had done much reading regarding correlations between autism and vaccinations. She also mentioned the group Homefirst Health Services, whom have never vaccinated any of their children and whom are all autism free. When questioned further regarding the matter she went on to say that vaccines have changed over the years, more specifically the mercury levels in vaccines have gone up. For years Jenny McCarthy had been on the forefront, leading the way for the belief that autism is caused by childhood vaccinations. She became the leader of mothers against vaccinations when her son was diagnosed with autism.
Celebrities like Cavallari and McCarthy are creating large controversies in the medical community. More specifically McCarthy has been targeted for her stance on vaccinations, going as far as to threaten pro-vaccination celebrity Amanda Peet. McCarthy admits that her views are based on Google University, as well as public stories and opinions, and not on scientific evidence. Larry King questioned her beliefs and her reply was that the rise in autism diagnosis coincides with the rise in the amount of vaccinations children receive; according to McCarthy in 1983 children only received 10 shots, while this generation is receiving 36. McCarthy has yet to provide scientific evidence to her theory. Many in the medical community are attributing the current measles outbreak to parents not vaccinating their children, with McCarthy being put at the forefront of the blame.
According to the American Psychiatric Association there are 3 main types of autism that fall under the autism spectrum disorder, ASD: Asperger’s, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and autistic disorder. Web MD describes Asperger’s as the mildest in the spectrum, with children becoming obsessed with specific objects or subjects; however they also have normal to above average intelligence. Children with Asperger’s are also described to be uncoordinated and socially awkward. The mid category, PDD-NOS or atypical autism, falls in-between Asperger’s and autism. Given no 2 cases are alike in atypical autism, it makes it the hardest to diagnose. The generalized criteria for diagnosis involves a child showing signs that are more severe than Asperger’s yet not as severe as autism. The highest in the spectrum is autism, criteria for diagnosis involve social and mental impediments often accompanied by repetitive behaviors.
There has yet to be scientific evidence stating vaccines cause autism. However, there is no scientific evidence that proves they do not cause autism. According to Web MD the belief that vaccines cause autism begins when parents see immediate changes in their children following vaccinations. The problem with this is that signs of autism begin around the same age that children begin their vaccination schedule. The largest decision parent’s face is whether the risks of not vaccinating children is worth the cost of the theory that celebrities like Cavallari are sponsoring. Web MD reports that 2.5 million unvaccinated children die from diseases that may have been preventable if vaccinated, the outbreak of measles in New York is cited as an example.
By Dony Lugo