Proven Scientific Facts

It’s a relief to know that the misconception doesn’t run unopposed. Various credible medical institutions have conducted studies debunking and disproving the ongoing myth. On the brighter side, these misconceptions have urged companies to safely design vaccinations and to always double check them.

In a large sample of privately insured children who had older siblings with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and thus were at higher risk of developing autism, receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD, regardless of whether older siblings had ASD. The findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD. The project was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Measles Vaccine & Thimerosal

This misconception didn’t emerge out of thin air; there have been many arguments for it. The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps & rubella) raised a lot of concern years after it was introduced in 1963. Scientists speculated that thimerosal, a mercury-based ingredient in the MMR vaccine, could be responsible for infantile autism. Thimerosal is present in many vaccines which only added to the growing fear of vaccinations in the United States. Pressure from concerned parents finally paid off in 2001 when, as a precautionary measure, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) decided to remove thimerosal from all infantile vaccinations. The impact of this decision became clear  in 2014 when over 600 cases of the measles were reported.

So was Thimerosal Actually Dangerous?

An innumerable amount of medical organizations have already fired back against the dangerous misconception, most notably the CDC. The first study was conducted back in 2002, shortly after thimerosal was removed from infantile vaccines. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) concluded their research and stated “the evidence favours rejection of a casual relationship between thimerosal and autism.”  Several other studies, including one conducted by JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) in 2015 went to great length to disprove the ongoing myth. The study consisted of the analysis of over 95,000 children. Only 2,000 of those children expressed symptoms of autism, but not because of any vaccination. It turned out that these 2,000 children had something in common – a sibling with autism. Even though clear, scientific evidence disproving the ongoing myth has been provided by various credible medical institutions, the misconception remains a topic of discussion in the public discourse.