Study confirms mumps, measles & rubella vaccine doesn't cause autism

06 March 2019 - 10:04 By AFP Relaxnews
The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine does not increase a child's risk of autism.
The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine does not increase a child's risk of autism.
Image: iStock / Scyther5

A new large-scale European study has found that despite concerns, there is no evidence that the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine increases the risk of autism, even in children more susceptible to the condition.

Carried out by researchers at the Statens Serum Institut, Denmark, the new study looked at 657,461 children born to Danish mothers in Denmark from 1999 through 31 December 2010 to investigate whether the MMR vaccine increases the risk for autism in children or in various subgroups of children, or clusters of autism cases after vaccination.

The researchers gathered information on the children's MMR vaccination status, other childhood vaccines, autism diagnoses, sibling history of autism, and autism risk factors, and then followed the children from 1 year of age until August 31 2013. 

The findings, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that 6,517 of the children studied were diagnosed with autism.

When comparing MMR-vaccinated with MMR-unvaccinated children, the researchers found no increased risk of autism for those who had received the MMR vaccine.

The researchers also found that there was no increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination in subgroups of children with a sibling history of autism, autism risk factors, or other childhood vaccinations, or during specified time periods after vaccination.

According to the researchers, the findings are in line with previous studies. However, the hypothesised link between measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism continues to cause concern.

Vaccine hesitancy - a reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated or to have one's children vaccinated - has been heavily reported in recent months. These individuals, more commonly known as anti-vaxxers, are drawing criticism at a time when there is a concerning increase in measles cases in Europe and the US.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health.