ZocdocAnswersDoes a vaccine exist to protect my baby from autism?

Question

Does a vaccine exist to protect my baby from autism?

Hiello. My child is 3 months old. His brother is 4 year ols and has autism. Can I vaccinate my baby to protect him from autism? They say it's genetic, but I don't know how I'd handle two autistic kids.

Answer

I hate to be the barer of bad news, but unfortunately, there is no vaccine that exists that can protect your baby from autism. Autism is a very complex neurological disease for which we do not fully understand the origins or mechanism of the development. We do know that there is a component of genetics that plays a role in children being autistic, but it is much more complicated than a child inheriting it from the parents. Autism may occur when a certain combination of genes are present and this combines with some environmental factor. Thus, just because your first son got that combination of genes does not mean that your second one will. This is because you and your partner do not give the exact same genes to each child. If you did, each child would look identical. While the likelihood of your second child being autistic may be a bit higher than everyone else, he is statistically more likely to turn out normal. I think the best thing you can do is nurture your child in the best way you know how. Make sure that he eats good food and has interactions with other kids outside the house. If you see signs that something is not right, then you should schedule an appointment with your son's pediatrician. He or she can perform testing or refer him to a child psychiatrist if there is any concerning activity. Good luck.

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