- Autism is a developmental disorder that is present at birth, and symptoms develop during the early childhood years.
- Exposure to multiple vaccines on the same day had no link to the development of autism disorders.
- No link found between vaccination history and the development of regressive autism.
- CDC, WHO, and the Institute of Medicine have all debunked any link between childhood vaccinations and the development of autism.
Autism is a developmental disorder that is present at birth, and symptoms develop during the early childhood years. Over the years, many parents have voiced concerns that autism results from early childhood vaccinations, especially when several vaccinations are administered at once.
In recent years, the incidence of autism diagnoses has risen dramatically, from about one in every 200 children in the 1990s to one in 88 children today. As a result, concern about the causes of this condition has increased as well, and much undue blame has fallen on vaccinations. However, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Immunization Safety Office has again debunked the link between multiple vaccinations and the development of autism.
Why Do Some People Believe Autism Is Linked to Vaccination?
In the 1990s, as autism diagnoses in young children steadily increased, parents and some medical professionals began to raise concerns about pediatric vaccinations. Specifically, people were highly concerned about thimerosal, a preservative commonly included in childhood vaccinations. Much of the hype surrounding the link between preservatives, vaccinations, and autism can be traced to a 1998 study published by a British scientist avowing a link between vaccines and autism. However, the study was later proven to be erroneous, unscientific, and largely a fraud. Unfortunately though, once the article was published, the damage was done, and the belief in the vaccine-autism link became widespread. Even today, up to one-third of parents still adhere to the erroneous belief that vaccines and autism are linked, and ten percent of parents do not follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their children.
Notably, due to health concerns, thimerosal was removed from nearly all vaccines in 2001. It is now only present in one type of influenza vaccine, and there are thimerosal-free alternatives that individuals may choose. After thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines, the incidence of autism has continued to rise, making this supposed causal claim even more dubious.
Debunking of the Vaccine – Autism Link
Because some parents have chosen to either not vaccinate their children at all or to not follow the recommended CDC childhood vaccination schedule, the CDC Immunization Safety Office conducted a study that compared the vaccination history of children with autism spectrum disorder with children without. The central idea behind the study was if receiving multiple vaccines on the same date raises the risk of autism, then children who received more vaccines early in life or on a single day should show a higher risk of autism.
The sample population was 1008 children, 256 of whom had a diagnosis placing them on the autism spectrum, and 752 of these children were not on the autism spectrum. The researchers used the vaccination records of the children to determine the amount of antigens to which the children had been exposed. Then, the children were subdivided into groups based on the amount of antigen received from birth to three months, birth to seven months, and birth to two years old.
After analyzing the data, CDC scientists determined that the amount of antigens received over any of the time periods was not linked to the child’s risk of developing autism. Exposure to multiple vaccines on the same day also had no link to the development of autism disorders. Finally, the researchers looked at vaccination history and whether the child developed regressive autism, and, again, no link was found. The study data and results were published in the April 1, 2013, issue of the Journal Pediatrics.
Even though the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the Institute of Medicine have all debunked any link between childhood vaccinations and the development of autism, there is still much work to be done to fully convince the public of the safety and efficacy of routine childhood vaccinations. Share this article to help inoculate against false claims!