Linking autism to vaccination is the ‘most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years’

Medical experts say the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Does vaccination cause autism?

The short, emphatic answer: NO!

A lot of information—or, rather, misinformation—has been going around claiming that vaccinating children against the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) viruses will increase their risk for autism.

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Controversy began in 1998

This rumor is not new. It has been disproven several times but keeps resurfacing especially during the “ber" months when measles is on the rise.

The history of this controversy started way back in 1998.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper stating that MMR vaccination causes autism.

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Tragic results of non-vaccination

His study revolved around 12 children from the United Kingdom who allegedly began to have neurologic and behavioral disturbances after receiving MMR injections. The media was in a frenzy and many parents withheld MMR vaccination from their children.

The results of non-vaccination were tragic.

Measles cases increased by 13 times more while mumps shot up to 37 times higher than years before the controversy. Severe complications were observed such as measles encephalitis, pneumonia and even death.

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Suspicious claims

Numerous individuals and medical societies were suspicious of the claims of Dr. Wakefield.

Through extensive research and review of the evidence, it was established that there is no link between MMR and autism.

Review of the children's medical records showed they were literally "doctored" and the results were different from the data published. It was further discovered that Dr. Wakefield received £55,000 from the legal counsel of private groups who were lobbying against vaccination.

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Retracted false theory

Since then, the General Medical Council of the UK has retracted this false theory twice: the first time in 2004 and the second time in 2010. The council has also revoked Dr. Wakefield's license prohibiting him from practicing medicine.

The last known information regarding the former-doctor-and-now-simply-Mr. Wakefield is that he has left England and he now works in Texas for another anti-vaccine legal group.

One researcher describes the vaccine-autism connection as "the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years".


Frank DeStefano, “Vaccines and Autism: CDC Study Says No Connection,” Medscape, April 12, 2013

“Investigator Planned to Make Vast Profit From Autism/MMR Vaccine Scare, BMJ Says,” Medscape, Jan 13, 2011

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