Clinical

Do Vaccines cause Autism?

Recently due to the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccines, the conspiracy theory that vaccines cause autism needs to be revisited because there are multiple studies that show that vaccines do not correlate to autism. Refusal of vaccines is not something that recent appeared due to COVID-19 vaccines; they actually began in the early 1800s when people began to refuse the smallpox vaccine because of sanitary, religious, and political reasons. Many of these viewpoints continue today as everyones’ personal opinions are what influence their decision on whether or not they are going to receive that COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the CDC, some ingredients in most vaccines are what some believe may lead to autism in children. The biggest ingredient that was tested was thimersal, which was tested for links to autism and other diseases such as measles and mumps. While investigation thimersal was removed from many children’s’ vaccines from 1999-2001, but later it was implemented in a few vaccines once again after it was discovered that thimersal had no links to any disease. Even though thimersal was found not to have any links to autism, it is toxic to the central nervous system, which was why the public was very wary towards thimersal being included in vaccines. Fortunately no harmful effects from thimersal have been reported, and scientists and health care workers continue to include thimersal in some flu vaccines, but most vaccines do not incorporate thimseral.

Probably one of the biggest reasons that parents fear giving their children vaccines is the experiment conducted in 1995 by British researchers. These researchers had recently conducted an experiment that showed that children who had taken the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine(MMR) had a higher chance of contracting bowel disease than children who had not taken the vaccine. One of the researchers from this experiment, Andrew Wakefield continued this experimentation in 1998, when him and 12 other researchers discovered that children given MMR vaccine also displayed autism symptoms. Suspiciously Wakefield and his colleagues could not explain the correlation between autism symptoms and the MMR vaccine. Nevertheless, the idea that vaccines could lead to autism in children of course created panic within many parents across the globe and vaccinations were delayed. Many skeptical researchers continued searching for correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism but couldn’t find any. Eventually in 2011, Brian Deer a British journalist discovered that Wakefield that committed research fraud by altering data about many of the children’s conditions. In the end no concrete evidence was found that linked vaccines to an increase in the chance of getting autism and parents have little to worry about when it comes to vaccines today.

There are multiple reasons why people were not 100 percent trusting of vaccines, and this distrust of vaccines continues today even during a global pandemic. However there is plenty of evidence out there that prove that vaccines do not have any distinct relations to autism and people will continually see this and I believe that many people will look into themselves and possibly change their minds on vaccines. After all vaccines may be a big reason how the world climbs out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908388/

https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/do-vaccines-cause-autism

https://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccine-myths-debunked/

https://www.healthline.com/health/vaccinations/opposition

Categories: Clinical