The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine does not cause autism, a new study of over 650,000 children in Denmark confirms. Not that we needed convincing. The research just adds to the mountains of evidence that the MMR vaccine is safe—there is, perhaps, no medical intervention better studies for safety and efficacy than the measles vaccine. Still, the findings are significant for their size and scope, and the fact that the research was conducted outside of the United States. Anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists often dismiss U.S.-conducted research as unreliable and influenced by Big Pharma.
“The fact that we were able to study all Danish children forward in time, with high-quality information on who and when they were vaccinated with MMR, and then, from other independent registries, who of the children developed autism, gives high credibility to the result of this study,” coauthor Mads Melbye, a professor and director of the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, told Healthline.
“It is time to bury the hypothesis that MMR causes autism.”
In contrast to this study of 650,000 children, the original paper that kicked off the vaccine scare examined only 12 children and was entirely fraudulent. Andrew Wakefield, the engineer of this phony study, lost his medical license in 2010, saw his study that had claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism retracted from the The Lancet. Subsequent studies confirmed, again and again, that the measles vaccine was safe and effective, but by then it was too late. Vaccine rates have continued to plummet in the US, the UK, and Western Europe, and increases in measles cases have followed. Measles remains the leading cause of preventable death among children worldwide.
In effort to stop the madness one and for all, Melbye and colleagues looked at data from Denmark’s population registry that included 657,461 children born between 1999 and 2010. Participants were followed until August 2013, when researchers noted autism diagnoses, as well as risk factors such as preterm birth, parental age, and siblings with autism. More than 95 percent of the children in the study received the MMR vaccine and total of 6,517 had been diagnosed with autism by the end of the study.
Getting the vaccine, of course, did not increase the risk of autism in children.
Paul Offit, a physician and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (who was not involved in the study) hopes this new research will get through to some people. “At this point, you’ve had 17 previous studies done in seven countries, three different continents, involving hundreds of thousands of children. I think it’s fair to say a truth has emerged,” Offit told CNN.
“I think people need to realize that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice. It’s a choice to take a greater risk, and unfortunately right now, we are experiencing that greater risk.”