At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has once again shown there to be no link between the use of the MMR vaccine and the risk for asthma in children. This study linked information from 657,461 Danish children with their vaccine history and autism diagnosis. To the surprise of almost no one, children who received the MMR vaccine were at no greater risk for autism than children who did not receive the vaccine. What’s more, the study was unable to find any increased risk for autism in vaccinated children in sub-populations who were at greater risk for autism, had siblings with autism, or had other childhood vaccinations. Add this to the long list of studies that show no link between autism and vaccinations and it becomes clear that we may be beating a dead horse. To those who understand the importance of the scientific method, no more evidence of the safety of vaccines is necessary. Unfortunately, to those who do not understand the scientific method or who choose to believe conspiracy theories on the internet, no amount of evidence will make them understand. Facts are facts whether they choose to believe them or not.
It may interest people to know that a rubella infection during pregnancy can cause a condition known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). CRS can cause a variety of congenital anomalies including autism spectrum disorder. This is noteworthy because rubella is one of the viruses that the MMR vaccine protects us against and so, by forgoing vaccines in our children, we may actually be putting them and their future children at risk for autism. Interestingly, CRS and CRS-associated autism cases have declined in the 20th century thanks to vaccination efforts.
Stories about new measles outbreaks seem to be hitting the news every couple of days. These outbreaks are striking areas of the world where vaccine-hesitancy is high and are putting those who cannot be vaccinated due to health concerns at risk. Enough is enough, vaccines do not cause autism and any talk to the contrary should be treated as a conspiracy theory just like flat-earthers and moon landing deniers.
Image Credit: Flickr Antony Theobald