Parents in the autism community worry about H1N1 vaccine
Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Many parents in the region keep calling their pediatricians to see if the the H1N1 vaccine has arrived. But others don't want their kids to get the shot at all – even when it's available. Public Health officials in Delaware report low participation during the first week of school vaccinations – especially in one school that serves students with autism.
Delaware's Division of Public Health reports that at the Brennen School in Newark, only 10 out of 320 students got the vaccine. This is a tough issue for parents of children with autism, says Theda Ellis, who directs Autism Delaware, a non-profit advocacy organization. She says worries about a connection between autism and vaccines still prevail:
Ellis: Many parents give anecdotal information that their children developed symptoms of autism following a vaccination so particularly for those parents, it's a big issue.
She says some parents think a preservative used in vaccines is related to autism. In addition, Ellis says there are other worries:
Ellis: For some people it's the impact on the auto-immune system, and so little being known about it, and then the third concern about the swine flu vaccine is that there's a sense that it hasn't really been adequately researched yet.
Dr. David Mandell of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says no research has shown a connection between autism and vaccines. He says parents should consider the health benefits of getting the vaccine when making their decision.
Mandell: Vaccines are extraordinarily safe, that is the risk from having any kind of problem associated with the vaccine is much lower than the risk of getting what could be a very serious infection.
School vaccines are also under way in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but student participation rates are not available.