An April study has unequivocally proven what scientists have known for decades — the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) is safe, effective, and in no way associated with the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children.
The study’s leading pediatrician researcher Anjali Jain examined children in a high-risk category for developing autism and those with family histories of the disorder.
The team concluded that of roughly 95,000 children who were studied, no statistical link or otherwise between MMR vaccines and autism were found.
“This is the first study to assess risk among children already at higher risk by virtue of having an older sibling with ASD,” the study said. “Even in these cases, the data showed no increased risk of ASD related to the MMR vaccine.”
Many in pediatrics and medicine believe there shouldn’t even be a debate since the evidence is so one-sided. However, a vocal minority still remains convinced that vaccines are dangerous to children and are the leading cause of disorders like autism.
This year in 2016, the Australian government stopped paying childcare and welfare benefits to parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. The Australians are also doing away with the “conscientious objection” exemption from mandatory vaccinations in an effort to halt a growing anti-vaxxer movement who are the parents of some 39,000 children — all who miss out on vaccinations each year.
From The Guardian:
The tightening of the rules around exemptions is part of the government’s $26m package on boosting [immunization] rates, which was due to be announced in detail on Sunday.
The package will include a public awareness campaign to sell the benefits of vaccinations to parents, the incentive payments for medical providers, and improved public vaccination records.
While the US still has a low national average for those not vaccinated, the rate has been actually rising in recent years.
Jain and her colleagues said in a recent survey that of the 486 US parents of children with ASD, it was found that nearly 20 percent had decided not to vaccinate their younger children.
“A Canadian study of 98 younger siblings of children with ASD found that younger siblings were less likely to be fully MMR immunized when compared with their older siblings with ASD,” Jain said.
They collected data from an extensive private health insurance database in the US between 1 January 2001, and 31 December 2007, each of whom had at least one sibling who was between 6 months and 17 years older.
The study concluded:
“Consistent with studies in other populations, we observed no association between MMR vaccination and increased ASD risk among privately insured children. We also found no evidence that receipt of either one or two doses of MMR vaccination was associated with an increased risk of ASD among children who had older siblings with ASD.
As the prevalence of diagnosed ASD increases, so does the number of children who have siblings diagnosed with ASD, a group of children who are particularly important as they were under-vaccinated in our observations as well as in previous reports.”
[This article has been updated]