A major new study out of Denmark demonstrates, yet again, that the measles, mumps, and rubella (or, MMR) vaccine, is not associated with an increased risk of developing autism, even "among kids who are at high risk because they have a sibling with the disorder."
NBC News reports that the study followed an incredible 657,461 children born between 1999 and 2010, 95% of whom received the MMR vaccine through August of 2013. The researchers documented a host of characteristics alongside diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder, including proven autism risk factors like the "age of the parents, diagnosis of autism in a sibling, preterm birth and low weight at birth," according to CNN.
Of the children studied, 6,517 kids developed some form of autism, but, the study found, "the MMR vaccine did not increase the risk of autism in children who were not considered at risk for the disorder and did not trigger it in those who were."
In fact, the research did uncover some interesting — but yet unstudied — conclusions and correlations pertaining to autism diagnoses. Children with autistic siblings were seven times more likely to receive their own autism diagnosis, boys were more likely to be diagnosed than girls, and — perhaps most shocking of all — "children who had no childhood vaccinations were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids who did get recommended vaccinations."
Correlation, of course, is not causation.
"Parents should not skip the vaccine out of fear for autism," the study's lead author told media. "The dangers of not vaccinating includes a resurgence in measles which we are seeing signs of today in the form of outbreaks."
Measels is a "highly contagious" disease that can prove to be fatal, and people who contract the measels can be contagious for several days before and after they show symptoms, making the disease easy to spread to others, particularly in places where people share close quarters, like airports and theme parks.
The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have noticed a significant uptick in measels cases in the last several years. There have, for example, been 206 reported cases of measles in the United States in the three short months of 2019. That's up from 372 reported cases in all of 2018. Worldwide, incidents of measels increased 48.4% between 2017 and 2018, according to the WHO.
The uptick is so disturbing that the WHO made "vaccine heistancy" — which they believe is directly responsible for the increase — one of the world's top ten threats to global health in 2019.
The myth that vaccines cause autism has its gensis in a fraudulent study submitted to The Lancet in 1998. According to CNN, "Wakefield had been compensated by a law firm intending to sue manufacturers of the MMR vaccine, and in 2010, he lost his medical license. In 2011, The Lancet retracted the study after an investigation found that Wakefield altered or misrepresented information on the 12 children who were the basis for the conclusion of his study."
The myth has only propagated thanks to social media misinformation campaigns.
Since the Lancet study was first published in 1998, doctors and researchers have conducted at least 17 studies "involving hundreds of thousands of children," each proving that there is no link between autism and the MMR vaccine.