Do vaccines cause autism?

Editorial Board

Editorial Board

October 25th, 2021

Editorial Board

No. It has been suggested that vaccinations are responsible for serious conditions including autism, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (MS). However, there is no evidence of any of these claims – and plenty of evidence arguing the contrary.

The most commonly-suggested concern is that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) could be linked to autism. This stems from a small study by British scientists in 1998 which hypothesised that MMR could cause damage to children’s intestines. This, they suggested, could in turn allow neurotoxic substances into the body which – according to their discredited theory – would then interfere with brain development.

Several other studies have disproved this thesis, almost all of the authors have formally disowned the paper, the journal which published the research, has retracted it, the doctor who led the small trial has lost his medical license, and the British Medical Journal has accused the lead author of failing to declare funding from a lawyer who hoped to sue vaccine makers.

The vast majority of doctors and scientists view the idea that vaccines cause autism as a damaging myth. Indeed, recent outbreaks of measles – which has killed people in Europe – have highlighted the need to improve vaccination rates.

For more information, see ‘Vaccination – 20 Objections & Responses’, produced by the Robert Koch Institute and Paul Ehrlich Institute