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Eagan, MN
I choose to immunize because I am a proud parent of an undamaged, uninjured, awesomely autistic kid. I never questioned immunization until my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. I had only a very basic understanding of autism at the time, so I reached out to several local support groups on Facebook. I found some parents who blamed their child's autism on vaccines. They called their children "vaccine injured" and "vaccine damaged". I looked into these claims and the only study that I could find linking vaccines with autism was Andrew Wakefield's, and it was very clear from reading the study that it was weak, lacked controls, and had a very small study size. The more I looked, the more I was reassured that vaccines are safe, effective, and important, and that there is overwhelming evidence that they do not cause autism. I was always taught in school that source evaluation is hugely important and to trust evidence over anecdote, and the knowledge that I found confirmed what I knew in my heart to be true. I simply couldn't reconcile this so-called "damage" and "injury" with my healthy, smiling, happy boy who loved to be swung around and squeezed, who laughed and smiled and lined up all his toys. The light didn't leave his eyes overnight. Vaccines didn't turn him into a shell of a human being. My son was born autistic and I love him deeply and perfectly, exactly the way he is, and it is not a nightmare. A nightmare would be watching him struggle, have pain, or even die from something easily preventable by something readily available, something that nearly every doctor recommends, that I decided NOT to do, because I was scared. Vaccination is a very important health decision and I trust the smart people, the logic and the evidence, not the conspiracy. Demonizing autism and using it as a fear factor for anti-vaccination propaganda is just wrong. Resources should be used to look for ways to help amazing autistic people like my son find support, love, accommodation and acceptance. Instead of "researching" vaccines, I encourage people to get to know and try to understand all the wonderful people of every part of the spectrum.
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