For every 66 children and youth in Canada alone, one is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Yet, the anti-vaccine lobbies haven’t stopped targeting ASD. What had started from the MMR vaccine has now put the COVID-vaccination drive in Canada and elsewhere under fresh dangers.
It’s, therefore, high time to cleanse facts from fiction. Especially when the world just observed World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd and is still observing the awareness and acceptance month dedicated to it.
Does COVID Vaccine Cause Autism or Other Learning Disabilities?
There is no denying that a lot of mystery still surrounds the different variants of COVID vaccines. However, the four authorized vaccines in Canada, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, and AstraZeneca, have come through legitimate trial processes, are under strict regulations and monitoring, and have satisfied the health authorities world over. Their efficacy rates and side effects, too, are all too public in terms of information.
With efficacy rates up to 95%, the vaccines have reported fever, chills, tiredness, headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions as common symptoms. The allergies are, by the way, taken into account before a vaccine is administered. Nothing else except for the soreness on the injection spot.
The Trouble Cases
Efficacies and reported side-effects aside, two candidates have gathered some bad press of late. The AstraZeneca vaccine, especially, came under fire globally when blood clot reports emerged from Europe for people under 55. Subsequently, the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada has been limited to only those above 55.
For Janssen, too, similar reports are emerging from the United States. Canada, however, is yet to start vaccinating people with this particular vaccine. Already, the Canadian authorities are following the blood-clot investigations in the U.S. Quite naturally, it wouldn’t be part of the Canadian vaccination drive if any real dangers are reported in the investigations.
That said, there is no study linking COVID vaccines with autism or any other learning disability. No credible one, at least. Even the severity of the side effects ranges between mild to moderate, as is the case with most other vaccines.
The COVID Threat for an Autistic Person
So, there is no such thing as the ‘autism threat’ after getting the COVID jabs. Or any vaccine, for that matter. However, the novel coronavirus is a threat to an autistic person, more than other people in some instances. The risk is higher, at times, because, more often than not, autism is accompanied by certain other medical conditions. Therefore, just like older people, an autistic person needs special care and precautions, especially if they live in crowded surroundings.
COVID Vaccine for Those With Autism
While the threat in certain cases may be more, especially if an underlying medical condition accompanies one’s autism, the vaccines are safe. People with disabilities were an active part of the clinical trials of the vaccines. Although no specific information is available, the general trial data shows them to be safe and effective for autistic people.
Since autistic people are as much under the threat of COVID as any other person, the vaccines provide the best protection.
However, one major challenge could be getting a loved one with autism ready to take the jab. This may be tricky because people with autism like routines and no surprises. Two, they are often victims of communication difficulties.
Therefore, informing them early and talking them through the entire process over an extended period can help. Someone who is a regular sight and with whom there exists a certain level of trust is the best fit for this. Parents, caregivers, friends, and even healthcare professionals who take regular care usually fall in that category.
Contact Annie’s Place if you seek such a home health care professional for someone with Autism in B.C. Based in Lower Mainland, Burnaby, we don’t rotate our professionals if they satisfy you with their work, so you get the same carer every time. For an autistic person, this minimizes the much-needed outside contact and ensures the factor of familiarity. Stay safe.