By Rachel Bocchino

This is part 2 of a 5 part series this week (July 29-August 2).

 Vaccines have been successfully preventing dangerous diseases and saving lives for centuries.  This week, we look at some of the myths surrounding vaccines and the truth behind them.  On Thursday, we kick of National Immunization Awareness Month!  Check out the next myth and the recommended vaccination schedule below.

Myth 2: Vaccines cause autism.

tvclipIn 1998, English researcher Andrew Wakefield published a paper claiming that the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine caused autism.  Since then, several studies have proven that there is no connection between immunization and autism. Children who receive the MMR vaccine are not at a greater risk of autism than those who haven’t.  Although Wakefield’s research was proven to be fraudulent and he was stripped of his medical license, his falsified claims continue to be promoted by his zealous but misinformed fans.

Vaccines are given to small children because infants and young children can become very sick if they get an infection.  During this time in their life, they also experience many developmental changes.  Although it is easy to blame problems on recent immunization due to coincidental timing, several studies have demonstrated no links between vaccination and autism.

Check back tomorrow to find out the truth behind another immunization myth.

Call your primary care physician to get you or your child vaccinated! If you don’t have a doctor, call the Mayor’s Health Line at (617) 534-5050.

Vaccination Schedules from the Centers for Disease Control:

Recommended vaccination schedule for ages 0-6 years

Recommended vaccination schedule for ages 7-18 years

Recommended vaccination schedule for adults

For more information on vaccination, check out Immunization Basics from the CDC or call the Boston Public Heath Commission at (617) 534-5611.

Rachel Bocchino is the IDB Social Media Outreach Intern for STI Education.  She attends the College of the Holy Cross, is a Classics Major/Chemistry Minor and in the Pre-Health Program.  She will graduate in 2014.