Vaccines and Autism
Let’s be clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.
This myth, which numerous scientific studies have debunked, started because of one highly flawed study.
In 1998, a doctor named Andrew Wakefield published a fraudulent study linking the MMR vaccine and autism. This article was published in the highly regarded British medical journal “The Lancet.” It consisted of a sample of 12 children who had received the MMR vaccine and whose parents reported: “behavioral symptoms” within two weeks of receiving the MMR vaccine.
However, the study was highly flawed. Follow-up studies were unable to reproduce Wakefield’s findings. Furthermore, in 2004, it was discovered that Wakefield had selected his sample children from a group of families who were preparing to sue a maker of the MMR vaccine.
This conflict of interest caused the Lancet to retract the Wakefield article. Their retraction stated:
“We wish to make it clear that in this paper, no causal link was established between (the) vaccine and autism, as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised, and consequent events have had major implications for public health. Because of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.”
Andrew Wakefield also lost his medical license.
In April 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the most extensive study to date. Researchers in this study analyzed the health records of over 95,000 children, with nearly 2,000 of those children considered to be at risk for autism because they had an older sibling already diagnosed with autism. The study confirmed that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine did not increase the risk for autism spectrum disorder.