Q&A: Can the MMR vaccine cause autism?
I am the father of a four-month-old. I have researched all the vaccines that my son is scheduled to have, and he has gotten them all with the exception of the hepatitis vaccine. I also have concern over the MMR vaccine. There is a theory out there that MMR causes autism in young children. What are your views on this?
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has established a Vaccine Education Center which has published a newsletter addressing exactly your question. The theory that you mention is a scare that emerged from a British study questioning a link between MMR and autism. Since then a more recent study, also from Britian, involving almost 500 children found that autistic children were no more likely to have had an MMR than nonautistic ones. And, the incidence of autism in Britian didn’t change once the MMR came into use in 1988. The same negative finding was confirmed in several other countries as well.
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that signs of autism usually appear in the second year of life, and that’s the same year that the MMR vaccine is given. Yet these two situations, while linked in time, don’t necessarily cause each other.
I’m convinced that the MMR vaccine isn’t a cause of autism, and subjected my own children to the vaccine to protect them from three viral infections. I hope that the true cause of autism will be found soon and that from that knowledge the medical profession can offer more help to autistic children and their families.