Pediatrician Weighs In on Vaccine & Autism Presidential Debate

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WAUKEE, Iowa -- A metro pediatrician says one issue discussed during Wednesday night's presidential debate could impact her practice.

Doctor Sarah Jackson says she was shocked to learn some politicians are still linking vaccinations to autism; a debate she says was debunked in 2010.

“We do worry that parents will base decision on these very public figures that may have misinformation,” she said.

GOP front - runner Donald Trump made his stance clear, claiming the two are related. He also called autism an epidemic.

He said, "I'm in favor of vaccines. We should do them over a longer period of time, same amount but just in little sections. I think you're going to have, I think you're going to see a big impact on autism."

Numerous studies show no links between vaccinations and autism but Jackson says she can understand parents concern.

“When you have a child with a life long illness, you want a “why” to it so it makes sense,” she said. “The timing of when most kids start to show features of autism is around the time they are getting a lot of these vaccines,” said.

Many patients at the Mercy Clinic in Waukee are unsure if vaccination is necessary but after the debate, Jackson believes that number could grow.

Iowa state law states parents can get a medical exemption if child`s condition could worsen if they got the vaccine or could file for a religious exemption, if spiritual beliefs oppose immunization.

Last school year a total of 8,037 Iowa students made the exemption, that's up more than 150 students from 2013 - 2014 school year.