A major study conducted in Denmark showed there is no connection between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The debate is everything, but new. With the anti-vax movement rising in popularity, anti-vaxxers can no longer hide from medically backed-up research.
According to a Danish study, there is no proven connection between vaccines and autism.
What do we know?
- Children who received the MMR vaccine and children who did not receive the vaccine had the same likelihood of developing autism.
- There is also no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism for children with a sibling history of autism or autism risk factors.
Even if we ignored these cold hard facts for a second, choosing to risk exposure to measles over autism is both insulting and terrifying. Let’s not go down that path, though, seeing as there actually is zero connection between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Babies cannot receive the MMR vaccine until they turn one, as part of the Australian National Immunisation Schedule. Until then, they rely on those around them being vaccinated. I know this, because, funnily enough, I took my youngest son in for his 6-month shots today and asked if he could get his MMR vaccine early. The answer? No.
The basis of a majority of the fear-mongering surrounding vaccinations has been disproven and discredited. Parents are now left to decide whether their other concerns regarding the risks of vaccinations are really valid and worthy of taking the unvaccinated pathway.
Yes, it hurts watching your babies get poked and prodded. But, by golly, it hurts a heck of a lot less than the alternative!
How do we know it?
- Over 657,000 children were studied – every child born in Denmark between 1999 to 2010.
- Using population registries, researchers collated data for children who got the MMR vaccine and compared it to data for children who did not.
- 6,517 children were diagnosed with autism during the study.
So, of all those children involved in this study, less than 1% were diagnosed with autism. And of those diagnosed, the evidence suggests that there was not any correlation between the vaccine and their autism diagnosis.
- The study found no increased risk of developing autism after getting the MMR vaccine
- No clustering of autism cases among children who were given the vaccine
- No increase in the rate of autism among susceptible children who were given the vaccine.
Australian immunisation expert, Professor Ian Frazer explained
“It even goes further than previous studies have done in that it looks at people who might be regarded as high risk for autism”
Professor Frazer worked with his team at the University of Queensland to develop the HPV vaccine.
“The further we look and the more detail we look the less evidence there is of a link between autism and vaccination, it’s just not there.” Professor Frazer
What does this mean for us?
- The argument that the MMR vaccine can cause autism is invalid.
- Those that are immunocompromised or too young to receive vaccines rely on herd immunity.
With the biggest part of the anti-vax campaign being completely debunked, parents are now left with one huge truth: the MMR vaccine does NOT cause autism. This surely will see a rise in people hopping off the anti-vax bandwagon and onto the pro-vax rocket ship of modern medicine.
How did this anti-vax movement gain so much traction?
- Andrew Wakefield, an anti-vaccine activist and discredited former gastroenterologist, made fraudulent claims that the MMR vaccine causes autism after studying 12 patients.
- He later lost his licence after it was revealed his conflict of interest in the case and that he had falsified data
- As a result, vaccination rates in London dropped to around 50%.
Australia stands strong
Professor Frazer said Australia had largely not succumbed to the anti-vaccination movement, but he reiterated it’s important that we keep spreading the message that vaccinations save lives.
“We always have to be vigilant about measles particularly, because first of all it’s a very serious disease, it’s not just spots, one in a thousand who get measles get a serious brain disease as a consequence,” he said.
“And secondly because it has not gone away, it’s the one disease which requires the greatest vigilance when it comes to vaccine because it’s so infectious – one person will infect 100 others if they haven’t been vaccinated.
“We can’t ever give up keeping an eye on it, but it is encouraging that people accept that vaccination is useful, and it’s something you do not just for your own good but for the good of the community.”
The findings from the study were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.