In a study done by Dr. Andrew Wakefield back in 1998 — can you believe that was decades ago? — the correlation between autism in children and vaccines was researched. According to Wakefield, he found evidence showing a strong tie between them.
It was later discovered, however, that Wakefield had, in fact, misrepresented his research by altering the medical histories of the patients he was testing.
Wakefield was stripped of his medical license.
Despite the truth coming to light after the falsified study, the public reacted quickly, and vaccination rates dropped around the globe. Parents were terrified of their children developing autism, even though the study had been disproven.
In following years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tried to tame the public’s reaction by funding multiple studies of its own, each bringing back the same results: No correlation between vaccines and autism was found.
The removal of Wakefield’s medical license and the CDC’s new research weren’t enough to erase the damage already done. Parents still weren’t assured their kids wouldn’t be hurt by vaccines. To this day, many still feel the same.
Of course, failing to vaccinate leaves kids open to a host of other problems and serious diseases. And leaving them unvaccinated doesn’t just put a single kid at risk — it puts far more lives in danger.
The Spread to Pets
Fear spreads like wildfire. Now, parents’ reluctance to vaccinate their kids is affecting the choices they make for their pets, too.
An “anti-vaxxer” movement has been spreading across the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and human companions of both cats and dogs are leaving their animals vaccine-free — at the risk of diseases like rabies, parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus and more.
Unfortunately, just like failing to vaccinate a child puts countless others at risk, so does leaving a pet unvaccinated. The risk doesn’t just lie with animals, though. Humans, who aren’t regularly vaccinated for things like rabies, are also at high risk.
In fact, just several years ago, an outbreak of leptospirosis spread across the New York City area, affecting both animals and humans. Fortunately, in that case, a number of people with pets made the decision to vaccinate afterward.
Studies on Vaccine Reactions
It’s only natural for discoveries in human medicine to influence animal health care. For people afraid of vaccinating their kids, it makes sense they’d be reluctant to vaccinate their pets, too.
However, because of the growing movement against pet vaccinations, studies have also been done to disprove any serious reactions in dogs and cats.
One specific study published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association showed research taken from over 1 million vaccinated dogs. Over an entire year, each dog was monitored for 3 days after getting 1 or multiple vaccinations.
At the end of the study, the results showed only 38 dogs out of every 10,000 showed any signs of a reaction. According to one researcher, the reactions “were generally mild and … pet vaccines are more purified and less reactive today than they were when this study took place.”
However, even if that study, along with the human studies, missed some important variation, vets claim there’s no proof autism even exists in dogs.
As the “anti-vaxxer” wave spread from the U.S. to Britain, more and more pets were left unvaccinated. In an effort to quell the public’s fears and remove the huge potential risk of pets spreading disease, the British Veterinary Association tweeted: “There’s currently no reliable scientific evidence to indicate autism in dogs (or its link to vaccines). Potential side effects of vaccines are rare & outweighed by the benefits in protecting against disease.”
Watch this news item regarding pets and autism:
Outbreaks of diseases thought to be long gone have popped back up in recent years, most likely due to the fear of vaccines causing autism.
For example, measles was dubbed “eradicated” in the U.S. by 2000, but with the falsified research presented in 1998, the disease made a name for itself again. Just last year, in 2017, the largest outbreak in nearly 30 years spread across multiple states. In Europe, 35 children died of the disease.
With all the research proving there are no ties between vaccinations and autism — in both humans and pets (and the absence of autism in pets in general) — it’s upsetting to see outbreaks like these reappearing after years of being nonexistent.
Unfortunately, too many human and pet lives have been either terribly affected or lost because of highly dangerous and contagious diseases. While it’s hard to think of putting someone you care about at risk for developing autism, know there’s no proven evidence of vaccinations being a cause. There’s also no proven evidence of autism existing in pets.
Any proven research gathered from legitimate studies shows, again and again, that not vaccinating a human or pet puts them at far more risk than the vaccination itself does.
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