The measles mumps rubella vaccine, which is given to Canadian children at ages 12 to 15 months and 18 months, has been shown in the past to have no correlation to risk of autism in children.
However, an anti-vaccine movement which believes in a link between the two has gained momentum over the years and some parents choose not to vaccinate their children as a result.
While the MMR vaccine’s safety has consistently been proved to be good, the diseases which it protects against, measles mumps and rubella, can lead to serious health problems for children or even be fatal if contracted.
New research published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine has established more evidence that children vaccinated with the MMR vaccine do not have an increased risk of developing autism.
This was a large study, enrolling more than 650,000 children born in Denmark from 1999 through the end of 2010.
The children were followed up with by the researchers up until August of 2013.
By the study’s end, it was clear that there was no increased rate of autism among children who were given the MMR vaccine.
Even in children who had other potential risk factors for autism, including having a sibling with autism, their mother smoking during pregnancy, pre-term birth, low birth-weight and low Apgar score, there was no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
This new research, coupled with past studies, have demonstrated the lack of connection between the MMR vaccine and risk of developing autism.
“At this point, you've had 17 previous studies done in seven countries, three different continents, involving hundreds of thousands of children. I think it's fair to say a truth has emerged,” said Dr. Paul Offit, one of the study’s authors.
“I think we are at a tipping point. I think people need to realize that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice. It's a choice to take a greater risk, and unfortunately right now, we are experiencing that greater risk,” added Offit.
While some parents choose not to vaccinate their children, the science is clear that doing so increases their children’s risk of preventable diseases and does not protect them from developing autism.
The available research demonstrates that assuming that a person, especially a child, can fight off any disease that they face so long as they have a “strong immune system” is wishful thinking and can lead to more harm than good.
Dr. Colin MacLeod ND is a naturopathic doctor practicing full-time in Upper Tantallon at MacLeod Naturopathic. His practice focuses on pain management and maintaining health through physical activity and diet. Visit him online at drcolinmacleod.com.