The concerns about the link between vaccination and autism appeared a decade ago when a report on the matter was published. Parents reported that they noticed development of autism symptoms in the children after they had had MMR vaccinations (Downs, 2008). Numerous studies and surveys have been implemented since then. Many scientists note that some elements such as mercury and thimerosal that are included in the MMR vaccines may cause certain side effects that may be associated with quite serious health issues. Notably, these elements have been removed from vaccines to avoid any possible risks. However, it has also been proved in many studies that there is no correlation between vaccination and development of ASD or autism.
Piece of Evidence 1: Genetic Cause
Recent research shows that the disorder has genetic causes and it forms at the stage of development of the fetus. Clearly, there can be no correlation between a vaccine that is given when the child is 1 year old and the disorder that develops when the child is not even born (Autism and vaccines, n.d.). Of course, scientists are still quite unsure what exactly causes development of ASD and autism, but they are sure that the disorder forms when the child is still in the womb. It is also quite clear that parents start noticing symptoms of ASD after vaccination as it is given when the child is 12-13 years old. This is also the period when autism starts revealing itself.
Piece of Evidence 2: Absence of Scientific Evidence
Apart from strong evidence that autism has genetic origins, scientists argue that extensive research shows no correlation between the vaccine and the disorder. For instance, Taylor, Swerdfeger and Eslick (2014) review a number of studies that explore the correlation between autism and vaccination, MMR, or thimerosal and mercury. The studies reviewed involved more than 1,260,000 children, which is an extensive and informative number of samples. The researchers stress that vaccines or their elements and the disorder are not linked in any way.
Piece of Evidence 3: Elements of Vaccines
At the same time, people are still concerned with the effects of vaccination. They claim that scientists have proved that some elements (mercury and thimerosal) are harmful and these elements were removed from the vaccine for some reason. However, scientists argue that although mercury and thimerosal have some negative effects on people’s health, this negative impact has nothing to do with autism. Mercury and thimerosal have been removed from many vaccines as these elements may cause depression, visual problems, anxiety, sensory nerve problems but these are not symptoms of autism (Downs, 2008).
On balance, it is possible to note that the debate on the correlation between vaccination and autism is still ongoing. Some parents are reluctant to have their children vaccinated as they think about possible risks. However, extensive research shows that these fears are inconsistent as there is no link between vaccines (or their elements) and autism or ASD. It is also clear that vaccination is an important preventive measure that saves people’s lives and can prevent dangerous epidemics. To reduce the negative attitude towards vaccination, scientists in collaboration with healthcare professionals and officials (as well as media) should provide extensive information to the public. People should see benefits of vaccination and they should also understand that there is no risk of development of ASD or autism.
Autism and vaccines. (n.d.). Web.
Downs, M. (2008). Autism-vaccine link: Evidence doesn’t dispel doubts. WebMD. Web.
Taylor, L.E., Swerdfeger, A.L., & Eslick, G.D. (2014). Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies. Vaccine, 32(29), 3623-3629.