In 1998, The Lancet published a study by a doctor from the United Kingdom—Andrew Wakefield—that suggested that the measles, mumps, and rubella(MMR)vaccine could trigger autism. This claim received massive media coverage, and the United States and the United Kingdom saw a subsequent and significant drop in immunization rates among children. In 2004, journalist Brian Deer reported that Wakefield undisclosed conflicts of interest related to his study. In fact, Wakefield had applied for a patent on his own measles vaccine and had received money from a lawyer trying to sue companies that make the MMR vaccine. The Lancet then retracted the Wakefield study in 2010 after revealing additional concerns over ethics and misrepresentation in the study, and shortly thereafter, the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council permanently pulled Wakefield’s medical license. In the aftermath of this controversy, numerous studies have been conducted that have found no evidence that MMR causes autism, including a 2014 meta-analysis published in Vaccine for which the authors examined studies involving almost 1.3 million people. The Journal of the American Medical Association also reported that no difference existed in autism rates between thousands of vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on eight vaccines (varicella zoster, influenza [except 2009 H1N1], hepatitis B, HPV, MMR, hepatitis A, meningococcal, and those that contain tetanus) given to children and adults found that, with rare exceptions, these vaccines are very safe. A 2013 CDC study added to the research showing that vaccines do not cause autism. The study looked at the number of antigens (substances in vaccines that cause the body’s immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies) from vaccines during the first two years of life. The results showed that the total amount of antigen from vaccines received was the same between children with autism and those that did not have autism.
SOURCE: United States Centers for Disease Control and Safety. Vaccine safety. Vaccines do not cause autism. Page last updated: November 23, 2015 https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html. Accessed February 12, 2018. NHR