Worries about the COVID-19 vaccine have percolated in the autism community since the first shots were administered late last year, and it’s an issue I tackle head-on in the latest ASF weekly science podcast, titled “Why Would You Not Get Vaccinated?”
Although it’s understandable that families facing ASD might feel nervous about the COVID-19 vaccine because it feels so new, the reality is that the vaccines are safe, effective and rooted in longstanding science.
As I explain in the podcast, it’s especially important for adults and children with autism to get vaccinated when able because multiple studies show that people with autism and intellectual disabilities are at a higher risk of death from COVID-19 compared to people facing other preexisting conditions. Furthermore, it’s crucial that parents of kids with autism get vaccinated to lower the risk of infecting a child who is not yet eligible to receive a vaccine.
Dr. Pam Feliciano, the scientific director of SPARK (Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research through Knowledge), joined me for the first half of the podcast and speaks about vaccine hesitancy and how to alleviate fears. She notes that the data on vaccine safety is “really strong,” and the vaccines have now been administered to millions of people who are now able to return to pre-pandemic activities more quickly than those who aren’t.
The bottom line, as I emphasize in the podcast and in this recent Everyday Health article titled “5 Things People With Autism and Their Caregivers Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines,” is this: “The science is clear: you are better off vaccinated than not vaccinated.”