Study Finds No Link Between The MMR Vaccine & Autism

Concerns about the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism has persisted for two decades after a 1998 paper claimed there was a direct connection.

Study Finds No Link Between The MMR Vaccine & Autism

In 2010 the British medical journal said it was clear that “several elements” of the highly publicized paper, published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues, “are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation.”

His study was based on 12 children who were referred to the Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine with chronic enterocolitis and regressive developmental disorder. The study’s authors reported that the parents of eight of the 12 children associated their loss of acquired skills, including language, with the MMR vaccination causing them to conclude that “possible environmental triggers” (i.e. the vaccine) were associated with the onset of both the gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression.

It was later revealed that the children included in the study were carefully selected and some of Wakefield’s research was funded by lawyers acting for parents who were involved in lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.

The study’s media coverage struck fear in thousands of parents and spurred the anti-vaxx movement. This has caused many dangerous viruses to make a comeback, which is putting a new generation at risk.

In 2013, there were nearly 4,000 pertussis cases in Texas. Known as whooping cough, this was the largest outbreak since 1959.

Declared to be eliminated in 2000, the CDC has confirmed 159 measles cases so far this year in 10 states.

A new study worked to reverse the damage and prove there isn‘t a link between autism and measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

For the current research the team examined data on 657,461 children. During this time, 6,517 kids were diagnosed with autism.

Researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine that the kids who got the MMR vaccine were seven percent less likely to develop autism than children who didn’t get vaccinated.

“Parents should not skip the vaccine out of fear for autism,” said lead study author Dr. Anders Hviid of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“The dangers of not vaccinating includes a resurgence in measles which we are seeing signs of today in the form of outbreaks,” Dr. Hviid told

Researchers studied the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism in a nationwide cohort of all children born in Denmark to Danish-born mothers from 1999 to 2010. They followed kids from age one through the end of August 2013.

Researchers noted that 95 percent of the kids in the study got the vaccine.

It was revealed that:

  • Children with autistic siblings were more than seven times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids without this family history.
  • Boys were four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
  • Children who had no childhood vaccinations were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids who did get recommended vaccinations.

The study adds to a large body of evidence showing that vaccines don’t cause autism, Dr. Saad Omer of Emory University in Atlanta, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

“Any myth should be clearly labeled as such,” Omer writes. “Even in the face of substantial and increasing evidence against an MMR-autism association, the discussion around the potential link has contributed to vaccine hesitancy.”

About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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