“VAC­CINES CAUSE AUTISM”

How It Works - - CONSPIRACY MYTHS -

This dan­ger­ous myth all started when a fraud­u­lent study led by Dr An­drew Wake­field was pub­lished in the highly re­spected med­i­cal journal The Lancet in 1998. He stud­ied chil­dren di­ag­nosed with autism after re­ceiv­ing the com­bined vac­ci­na­tion for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). He claimed that the vac­cine caused autism and bowel dis­or­ders. Par­ents quickly stopped vac­ci­nat­ing their chil­dren. Another the­ory falsely im­pli­cates the use of thiom­er­sal, a mer­cury­based vac­cine preser­va­tive, with autism.

In the years that fol­lowed, more rig­or­ous stud­ies found no link be­tween the MMR vac­cine and autism: Wake­field was wrong. Eco­log­i­cal stud­ies looked at the numbers of vac­ci­nated chil­dren ver­sus the num­ber of chil­dren with autism. In Canada, autism rates in­creased while MMR vac­ci­na­tion rates went down. Swe­den and Den­mark re­moved thiom­er­sal from vac­ci­na­tions in 1992, but autism rates con­tin­ued to rise. Ret­ro­spec­tive co­hort stud­ies looked back through med­i­cal records to find links. One Dan­ish study an­a­lysed over 537,000 chil­dren but found no link be­tween their vac­ci­na­tion date and autism di­ag­no­sis. Prospec­tive co­hort stud­ies fol­lowed chil­dren after vac­ci­na­tion to see if they went on to de­velop autism. In Fin­land doc­tors found 31 chil­dren with symp­toms de­scribed by Wake­field but none be­came autis­tic. Then there was a meta-anal­y­sis con­ducted by Tay­lor et al that gath­ered re­sults from more than 1.25 mil­lion chil­dren. They found no link ei­ther. Measles, mumps and rubella are dan­ger­ous in­fec­tions that can cause deaf­ness, menin­gi­tis, brain swelling and death. In 2010, The Lancet re­tracted Wake­field’s pa­per, with the UK’S Gen­eral Med­i­cal Coun­cil strik­ing Wake­field off the med­i­cal reg­is­ter for se­ri­ous pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct in the same year.

The full course of MMR vac­cine re­quires two doses

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