Vaccines and Autism

Andrew Wakefield published a research paper in The Lancet in 1998 which describes research done involving a correlation with autism and the combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. Wakefield’s research was conducted on twelve children with developmental disorders. His paper described how the children’s vaccination caused these developmental disorders, including what he called autistic entercolitis. This paper put fear into people and caused a sharp decrease in the vaccine records in the UK and Ireland. This decrease in vaccines was then followed by a sharp increase of the cases of measles and mumps which in turn caused deaths and permanent injuries caused by the lack of herd immunity.

In 2004, an investigation showed that Wakefield received almost $75,000 to find evidence to discourage vaccine usage. Wakefield’s research paper was found to be unreliable and according to the medical journal he published his paper in, The Lancet, was “entirely flawed”. In 2009, Brian Deer reported that Wakefield had “manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella was linked to [autism]”. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention did a study that showed that vaccines do not cause Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The public health was deeply affected by this fraudulent study. My friend’s mom would not let her doctors vaccinate her and her siblings because of her fear of her children developing autism. Thankfully they did not get any of the diseases that could have been easily prevented because of the herd immunity and since she turned 18 she has gotten every vaccine that she can. Individuals contribute to this public health crisis of anti-vaccines by still citing Andrew Wakefield’s work in order to convince others of the “dangers” of vaccinating. This shows how lack of knowledge is still a large problem even with several reports and studies disproving Wakefield.

Emma Pierani


4 thoughts on “Vaccines and Autism

  1. Emma, your post is beautiful. I am involved with Special Education and deal with a lot of wonderful souls that have Autism. These children and young adults have the most beautiful aspect of life. I understand that people have tried to link vaccination with the spectrum recently, and your post cleared up a lot of my curious questions. The articles you chose are filled with a lot of useful information.


  2. Emma, I like to agree and disagree with you. Yes, there are studies out there that certain vaccinations do not lead to autism, but there also studies out there that are still trying to link the causes to autism and some vaccinations are still being looked into. All vaccinations aren’t good vaccinations due to the fact that science can be flawed. Although some vaccinations may not lead to autism there are some that lead to other birth defects and/or diseases. You just have to precautious and ask questions if you are unfamiliar with the vaccinations weigh out the pros and cons and if you believe that the vaccinations would benefit you then all means receive it but vaccinations can have different effects on different people just like all medications that are prescribed.

    Shayla Ford


  3. I’m going to have to agree with Madison here. This post is fantastic. This idea of linking autism to vaccines has been such an issue among many communities. The data just isn’t there, but the communication and false information has caused a lot of trouble for other people. To write on a topic like this is great, because it ties in really well with the fact that we struggle as a society to communicate because of a lack of knowledge.


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