Sarrc’s Message On Vaccines
At SARRC, we believe the ultimate decision to vaccinate a child is a personal choice. If asked, we would recommend vaccinations because dozens of reputable scientific studies have failed to show a link between vaccines and autism, while numerous other studies demonstrate that the risks from the diseases the vaccines are meant to prevent are dangerous to a childs health and well-being. Our research focuses on early identification of autism because it leads to early intensive intervention, which is the most important support we can provide for a child diagnosed with autism at this time.
Read more about autism and vaccines in a Q& A with SARRC’s Vice President and Research Director Christopher J. Smith, PhD, here.
Beyond The Autism/vaccine Hypothesis: What Parents Need To Know About Autism Research
A decade ago most researchers agreed that we needed to study vaccines in relation to autism. We had to reconcile the fact that the number of vaccines children were receiving was increasing, and at the same time, the number of children who were being diagnosed with autism also was on the rise. Fortunately this was a question that could be studied and answered by science. We looked at children who received vaccines and those who didnt, or who received them on a different, slower schedule. There was no difference in their neurological outcomes. Multiple studies have been completed which investigated the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination in relation to autism. Researchers have also studied thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, to see if it had any relation to autism. The results of studies are very clear the data show no relationship between vaccines and autism. Read the studies themselves below and browse our recommended reading list.
Here’s All The Evidence That Proves Vaccines Cause Autism
It’s been nearly twenty years since medical researcher Andrew Wakefield destroyed his career by publishing a fraudulent research paper linking the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine to autism. The doctor’s claims have endangered children around the world and confused parents trying to make the right health choices for their children. To set the record straight, here’s all the evidence that proves vaccines cause autism.
In 1998, Wakefield wrote a paper claiming he had found a link between autism and gastrointestinal problems. The paper did not find a link between vaccines and autism, but in a subsequent press conference, Wakefield said he thought the MMR vaccines should be given individually, and not as a set. Wakefield worried that the MMR vaccine could hurt a child’s immune system and allow the measles virus to invade the intestines. Proteins that leak from the intestines could reach neurons in the brain, he wrote, affecting brain function.
Dozens of studies since have refuted Wakefield’s claims. One study, which examined close to 100,000 children. The study found absolutely no link between autism and the MMR vaccine.
Even as scientists denounced the paper, media interest in Wakefield’s study exploded and several journalists reported his theories as fact, failing to scrutinize the study or corroborate it with expert opinions.
So here it is: The actual truth.
Recommended Reading: Aqtv Has Autism And Learning Difficulties
Vaccinations And Herd Immunity
Diseases like polio, whooping cough, measles, Haemophilus influenzae, and diphtheria are becoming very rare in the U.S. because the childhood vaccination programs have worked.
When parents stop vaccinating their child, not only is their child at greater risk of disease, other children in their communities, and other communities, are at elevated risk, too. The benefit from widespread vaccination protecting the larger community is known as herd immunity.
The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread. If vaccination rates drop nationally, diseases could become as common as they were before vaccines became available.
For example: smallpox is a true success story it has been eliminated from the globe since 1980. The last known case of smallpox in the U.S occurred in 1949, and the last case of naturally occurring smallpox was reported in 1977 in Somalia.
Studies are currently ongoing in children to determine the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in children under 16 years of age, and initial data from Pfizer-BioNTech looks promising. In participants aged 12-15 years old, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses and was well tolerated. These results exceeded those reported in trial of vaccinated 16-25 year old participants in an earlier analysis.
Is Thimerosal Still Found In Vaccines
Thimerosal has been removed or reduced to trace amounts in most vaccines, with the exception of the multi-dose vial of the seasonal flu shot. Thimerosal is added to multi-dose vials to help prevent overgrowth of bacteria.
For parents who prefer, preservative-free versions of the flu shot are available all you have to do is request it from your doctor or pharmacist. You may need to check with your insurance first to be sure they’ll pay for the preservative-free form.
Thimerosal used to be found in the hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines, among others. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has worked with vaccine manufacturers to eliminate thimerosal from vaccines recommended for children 6 years and younger. In many common childhood vaccines, thimerosol was never present.
Thimerosal is not present in any COVID vaccine issued for emergency use authorization in the U.S. To see a full list of ingredients for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., follow this link.
At this time, the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in children is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and it is only used in children 16 years or older. Studies in younger populations are ongoing.
You May Like: Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism
Are Vaccines Linked To Autism
The topic of childhood vaccines leading to autism spectrum disorder is one that never seems to fades away.
Concerns about vaccines leading to autism surfaced in 1999 and initially involved the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
Because the MMR vaccine is usually given at age 12 to 15 months, and the first signs of autism often appear at this time, concerns were raised about a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has conducted 9 studies that have found no association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ASD, or between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and ASD in children.
In 2019, in the largest study ever published on this topic, investigators found no evidence that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism when looking at over 650,000 Danish children. This result held true even when researchers focused on children at greater risk for developing autism. The results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Unfortunately researchers are skeptical the new data will change the mind of so-called “anti-vaxxers”. However, they feel the large study might provide reassurance to certain parents who are willing to listen to science.
Autism And Vaccines In The Media
A Journalists Guide to Covering Outbreaks of Vaccine-Preventable DiseaseFrom the producers of the PBS-NOVA special VaccinesCalling the Shots.
On January 21st, 2011, Dr. Paul Offit was on The Colbert Report speaking about his new book, Deadly Choices: How The Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All..
On September 9, 2014, ASF President Alison Singer was on The Leonard Lopate Show to talk about the risks of not vaccinating.
If we ask the same questions well get the same answers. Weve asked the autism vaccine question over two dozen times and each time we get the same response: no relationship. We need to move on. We need to invest in studying genetics, the brain structures of children with autism, and environmental factors that may be playing a role.
Also Check: Aspergers And Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Doubt Cast On Alleged Link
The accompanying commentary cast doubt on the alleged link.2The case series was subject to both selection and recall bias, the pathological findings were non-specific, there was no clear case definition and confirmatory virological studies had not been completed. The commentary also noted that although the authors had found measles virus in inflammatory bowel disease, the investigations of other researchers were negative. Indeed, the same edition of the Lancet included another study which failed to find measles virus genome in inflammatory bowel disease even though the researchers used a highly sensitive assay.
Vaccine Ingredients Do Not Cause Autism
- One vaccine ingredient that has been studied specifically is thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used to prevent germs from contaminating multidose vials of vaccines. Research shows that thimerosal does not cause ASD. In fact, a 2004 scientific review by the IOM concluded that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosalcontaining vaccines and autism.Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism external icon
Since 2003, there have been nine CDC-funded or conducted studies that have found no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ASD. These studies also found no link between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and ASD in children. Learn more about the CDC Studies on Thimerosal in Vaccines pdf icon.
Even before studies showed that thimerosal was not harmful, there was a national effort to reduce all types of mercury exposures in children. As precaution, thimerosal was removed or reduced to trace amounts in all childhood vaccines between 1999 and 2001. Currently, the only type of vaccine that contain thimerosal are flu vaccines packaged in multidose vials. There are thimerosal-free alternatives available for flu vaccine. For more information, see the Timeline for Thimerosal in Vaccines.
Besides thimerosal, some people have had concerns about other vaccine ingredients in relation to ASD. However, no links have been found between any vaccine ingredients and ASD.
Read Also: Is Nonny Autistic
The Flu Vaccine And Autism
While the majority of flu vaccines don’t contain thimerosal nowadays, multidose vials may have trace amounts to prevent bacteria, fungi, and other germs from forming. “Introduction of bacteria and fungi has the potential to occur when a syringe needle enters a vial as a vaccine is being prepared for administration,”according to the CDC. “Contamination by germs in a vaccine could cause severe local reactions, serious illness or death. In some vaccines, preservatives, including thimerosal, are added during the manufacturing process to prevent germ growth.”
Parents can always choose thimerosal-free alternatives of the flu vaccine though, and experts assert that it’s safe for kids. Indeed, the CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age receive a flu vaccine, with rare exceptions. Read more about the guidelines here.
Getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy is especially important since expectant women have a higher chance of severe illness from influenza. That’s because pregnancy changes your heart, lungs, and immune system. The flu vaccine also helps protect newborns from influenza during their first several months of life.
A Fraudulent Study From 1998 Continues To Have Negative Impact On Health
This past week, Dr. Mark Green, M.D., who was recently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Tennessee declared: Let me say this about autism, I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County , to stand on the CDCs desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines. As a physician, I can make that argument and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC, if they really want to engage me on it,”
As a clinician dedicated to serving people with autism and their families, I am both appalled and disheartened that a physician and future member of Congress has once again promulgated the “vaccines cause autism” narrative that has led to so much misinformation and fear regarding vaccinating toddlers and preschoolers against deadly diseases. Moreover, these shameful comments demonstrate why this lie has proven extremely difficult to overcome.
Not knowing what causes autism creates a knowledge vacuum that can be readily filled with the certainty that people, such as Dr. Green, who know vaccines cause autism and who argue that the CDC, federal government, Big Pharma, and the media are in an evil cabal to cover up the truth.
Recommended Reading: Best Dog Breed For Autistic Child
Myth #: We Don’t Need To Vaccinate Because Infection Rates Are Already So Low In The United States
Thanks to “herd immunity,” so long as a large majority of people are immunized in any population, even the unimmunized minority will be protected. With so many people resistant, an infectious disease will never get a chance to establish itself and spread. This is important because there will always be a portion of the population infants, pregnant women, elderly, and those with weakened immune systems that can’t receive vaccines.
But if too many people don’t vaccinate themselves or their children, they contribute to a collective danger, opening up opportunities for viruses and bacteria to establish themselves and spread.
Not to mention, as the Centers for Disease Control warn, international travel is growing quickly, so even if a disease is not a threat in your country, it may be common elsewhere. If someone were to carry in a disease from abroad, an unvaccinated individual will be at far greater risk of getting sick if he or she is exposed.
Vaccines are one of the great pillars of modern medicine. Life used to be especially brutal for children before vaccines, with huge portions being felled by diseases like measles, smallpox, whooping cough, or rubella, to name just a few. Today these ailments can be completely prevented with a simple injection.
Myth #: Infant Immune Systems Can’t Handle So Many Vaccines
Infant immune systems are stronger than you might think. Based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time. Even if all 14 scheduled vaccines were given at once, it would only use up slightly more than 0.1% of a baby’s immune capacity. And scientists believe this capacity is purely theoretical. The immune system could never truly be overwhelmed because the cells in the system are constantly being replenished. In reality, babies are exposed to countless bacteria and viruses every day, and immunizations are negligible in comparison.
Though there are more vaccinations than ever before, today’s vaccines are far more efficient. Small children are actually exposed to fewer immunologic components overall than children in past decades.
Recommended Reading: Can A Child With Autism Have Dyslexia
Should My Kid Get Vaccinated
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many other reputable organizations agree that vaccines do not cause autism, there are still small but vocal groups who believe they do. And amid that conflicting information, some parents might opt not get their children vaccinated“just to be safe,” because they worry about other possible reactions, or because of religious or other beliefs.
“But if you choose not to vaccinate your child, you are increasing his risk of contracting serious diseases that can lead to complications, hospitalization, and even death,” says Dr. Fombonne. For example, after the MMR vaccine was first linked to autism in England, many parents stopped vaccinating their childrenand several children died during a measles outbreak in Ireland soon afterward. And a recent measles outbreak in the United States has infected hundreds of people.
For all the major childhood vaccinations , most experts agree that the many, many benefits from getting vaccinated far outweigh any possible side effects or risks.
Talking About Vaccines: Autism
Claims that vaccines cause autism have led some parents to delay or refuse vaccines for their children. The most common claims are that autism is caused by MMR vaccine, vaccines that contain thimerosal, or too many vaccines. Many scientific studies have been done to test these claims. None has shown any correlation between vaccines and autism.
Corporate Authors: Publisher:
Recommended Reading: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
Myth #: Vaccines Can Infect My Child With The Disease It’s Trying To Prevent
Vaccines can cause mild symptoms resembling those of the disease they are protecting against. A common misconception is that these symptoms signal infection. In fact, in the small percentage where symptoms do occur, the vaccine recipients are experiencing a body’s immune response to the vaccine, not the disease itself. There is only one recorded instance in which a vaccine was shown to cause disease. This was the Oral Polio Vaccine which is no longer used in the U.S. Since then, vaccines have been in safe use for decades and follow strict Food and Drug Administration regulations.
Vaccination And Autism Fact Sheet
This fact sheet explains how we know vaccination does not cause autism and where the misunderstanding came from.
We aim to provide documents in an accessible format. If you’re having problems using a document with your accessibility tools,please contact us for help.
A fact sheet about vaccination and autism.
Many large studies have found vaccines do not cause autism. References and links to further reading are included.
This fact sheet provides information about:
- how we know vaccination does not cause autism
- that why some children develop autism is still not understood
- where the misunderstanding that vaccination causes autism came from.
Also Check: Does Autism Affect Life Expectancy
Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism
- Some people have had concerns that ASD might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD. The National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as Institute of Medicine, reviewed the safety of 8 vaccines to children and adults. The review found that with rare exceptions, these vaccines are very safe.Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality external icon
- A CDC study published in 2013 added to the research showing that vaccines do not cause ASD. The study focused on the number of antigens given during the first two years of life. Antigens are substances in vaccines that cause the bodys immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies. The results showed that the total amount of antigen from vaccines received was the same between children with ASD and those that did not have ASD.Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism external icon