New research again confirms no link between MMR vaccine and autism

Matt Woodley

6/03/2019 3:31:58 PM

The 20-year study, the largest of its kind, comprehensively invalidated claims that the MMR vaccine increases the risk of developing ASD.

There was no difference in autism rates between children who had and had not received the MMR vaccine.
There was no difference in autism rates between children who had and had not received the MMR vaccine.

The research, performed at the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), tracked 657,461 children born between 1999 and 2010 from 12 months of age until August 2013, and included 31,619 who had not received the (measles, mumps and rubella) MMR vaccine.
It found that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) occurred equally in both sets of children, leading the study’s authors to conclude that the MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of developing ASD.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP the comprehensive study was yet more evidence that immunisation did not increase the risk of autism.
‘It’s fantastic that you’ve got a whole-of-population study. Again, it shows that the MMR immunisation doesn’t cause autism. We’ve been saying it for years and we’re saying it again,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘The good news is that nationally 94% of children are now immunised, which is excellent. We just need to get that last 6% to help not only children, but the whole community, decrease the risk of immunisation preventable illnesses.’
The wide-ranging study also featured more than 6500 children diagnosed with ASD and investigated whether other factors could play a role in the way some children react specifically to the vaccine.
‘We looked at children with autistic siblings because these children are known to have an increased risk of developing autism themselves,’ SSI senior scientist and study co-author Dr Anders Hviid said.
‘We also focused on other risk parameters: children with old parents, children whose mothers experienced pregnancy-related complications, or children whose mothers smoked, children with low birth weight, as well as time-related associations between the time of MMR vaccination and development of autism.
‘In none of the cases did we observe a higher risk of developing autism among the MMR-vaccinated children compared with the non-vaccinated children.’
Vaccination hesitancy is one of the top 10 threats to global health, according to the World Health Organization.
Australia has seen a number of measles cases recently, prompting government alerts, as well as reminders about the importance of being vaccinated. Meanwhile measles cases more than tripled across Europe in 2018, with Ukraine alone reporting around 54,000 cases.
Dr Nespolon said parents who don’t immunise their children are not just putting their kids at risk but also those of others, and encouraged GPs to continue spreading the message regarding the importance of vaccinations.
‘People need to do what doctors do every day and assess the quality of the information. We should put out positive messages rather than negative messages, and the positive message is a total population study has again shown no relationship between MMR and autism,’ he said.
‘Anti-vaxxers are always going to be out there, they’ve shown in the past that evidence doesn’t sway their opinion, but all we can do is try.’

ASD autism measles MMR vaccination

newsGP weekly poll Should after-hours Medicare rebates extend to all-day Saturday?


Login to comment

nordal clarke   7/04/2019 12:44:58 PM

Have recently had heated discussion with anti vaccination friends. This information would have been a great help. How many children would have died or been crippled in my lifetime, 86 years, without vaccines?