The debate between pro-vaccine parents and proud anti-vaxxers once hinged their entire argument on a "study" that linked vaccinations to autism. The theory was born in 1992, thanks to Dr. Andrew Wakefield, an accredited British gastroenterologist, after he tested 12 children with and without autism. A report based on that study claimed that the findings uncovered a possible link between the measles virus in the gut and autism. The report was largely contested, leaving Wakefield stripped of all his licenses, and yet, the narrative was consistently pushed throughout popular culture.
Since then, scientists have been working tirelessly to debunk the unfounded study in an effort to placate anti-vaxxers. A study that tested more than 650,000 children just concluded that the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot does not increase the risk of autism. Taking a look at kids born in Denmark between 1999 and 2010, over 95 percent of the children received the MMR vaccine. Of that number, 6,517 were diagnosed with autism.
The study also found that the MMR vaccinate did not increase the risk of autism in those who were not already considered at risk for the disorder and did not trigger it in those who were.
That finding is important because the World Health Organization declared the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines as a top 10 threat to global health in 2019.
"At this point, you've had 17 previous studies done in seven countries, three different continents, involving hundreds of thousands of children," Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN. "I think it's fair to say a truth has emerged."
This post was originally published on Mom.me sister site CafeMom.