This is one of the most common misconceptions about vaccines. There is no link between vaccines and autism.
How did this rumor start?
This misconception started in 1998, when a study was published in the British medical journal The Lancet which was rumored and presented by the media as having “proved” a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. The study was later retracted.
The study, led by gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, is widely cited by the vaccine-refusing crowd as “evidence” of how vaccines cause autism. There are many problems with this “study,” most notably the fact that it states right within the study that no link was found between autism and the MMR vaccine. A study must include thousands of participants in order to be considered statistically relevant. The Wakefield “study” only includes a small sample size of 12 participants and he collected their blood samples at a kid’s birthday party, not in a controlled lab with other medical professionals to witness the collection. Further, the 12 participants never had blood tests to verify that they had even received the MMR vaccine in the first place.
The many problems with this study led to eleven of the original coauthors rescinding their involvement with the study and the remaining two coauthors losing their medical licenses. Including Andrew Wakefield. Andrew Wakefield has no medical license and continues to use his flawed study to encourage parents to forgo the recommended vaccine schedule.
This article further discusses Wakefield’s fraudulent behavior:
In 1993, Japan stopped using the combo MMR vaccine in Yokohama and used separate measles, mumps and rubella vaccines instead. However, the rate of autism continued to rise. If the MMR vaccine caused autism, then the rate of autism should’ve gone down instead of up when it was discontinued.
Fact: There is not an autism epidemic
The vaccine-denying crowd often states that there is now an increase in the rates of autism due to the MMR vaccine. Some refer to it as an autism “epidemic.” The fact is that there is not an autism epidemic.
Here’s a link which demonstrates that the rates of autism have not decreased even though the number of children who get the MMR vaccine has decreased.
Here’s an article from The Scientific American which discusses that the rates of autism are not at an epidemic level and that changes in the criterion for diagnosis autism have led to an “increase” in the number of cases of autism which would otherwise go undiagnosed.
Fact: vaccines do not cause autism: Here are some links which demonstrate that vaccines do not cause autism
This 2015 study paid for entirely by anti-vaxxers demonstrated no link between vaccines and autism.
This study of over 530,000 children in Denmark demonstrated no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
This study of 95,000 American children demonstrated no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
This Polish study of over 300 children demonstrates no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Here’s a link to over 100 studies that demonstrate no link between vaccines and autism.
Here’s a great blog post which explains that vaccines do not cause autism.
This American study of over 95,000 pregnant women demonstrated no link between the flu vaccine during pregnancy and autism.
This study demonstrates no link between the flu vaccine during pregnancy and autism.
This study examines over 200 American children and found that “too many vaccines too soon” did not lead to autism.
This study found that vaccines given to infants had no effect on neurological development at all.
Books which debunk the vaccine-autism myth:
by Dr. Paul Offit
by Seth Mnookin