There is no link between autism and the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on March 4 revealed. This is not the first study which has confirmed that MMR vaccine does not, in fact, cause autism, even then many people still live with the unfounded fear.
No link between autism and MMR
The sample size of the study conducted to arrive at this conclusion was very large. The researchers studied about 6,57,461 children in Denmark between 1999 and 2010. The study started in August 2013. The researchers documented the diagnoses of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) along with known risk factors including the age of the parents, diagnosis of autism in siblings, preterm birth and low weight at birth, as reported by CNN. ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate, interact and behave appropriately with others in social situations.
Among the children studied, only 6,517 developed autism. However, the researchers said that they found no difference in the risk of developing autism between those administrated with MMR vaccine and those who had not. The study concluded, “The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination.”
It is believed that the myth relating vaccine and incidence of autism originated out of 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield, which was published in The Lancet. The Lancet had to withdraw the study in 2011 after an investigation found out that Wakefield altered information on the 12 children who were studied on to arrive at his conclusion.
Fake news about the vaccine in India
In India, there have been several fake news surrounding the MR vaccines too. False claims of these vaccines hampering the child’s memory and learning capacity, supported by forwarded messages, pictures and videos spread across like wildfire. Rumours ranging from causing autism and learning disabilities in children to a conspiracy to stop the growth of the Muslim population were spread. It took collective efforts from doctors, people from religious organisations and government authorities to dispell all these rumours. While it cannot be said with absolute certainty that all rumours have been laid to rest, the situation is said to be far better.