A huge study of over 650,000 kids has demonstrated no link between vaccines and autism.
The study, conducted in Denmark, confirmed there was no link between the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), with developing autism.
Science and public health boards have been warning about the dangers of not vaccinating children, but despite this, the anti-vaxx movement and community has been rapidly increasing.
Anti-vaxxers are known for having vaccine hesitancy – the reluctance or refusal to have kids or themselves vaccinated.
Because of this, common vaccines like MMR and tetanus aren’t being administered, mainly due to misleading information being spread about side effects of the drugs.
The work was published by the Annals of Internal Medicine and was conducted by researchers at the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen.
The Danish cohort study was conducted nationally and involved 657,461 Danish children born between 1999 and 2010. The results show there was no connection between vaccines and cases of autism.
Over 95 per cent of children received the MMR vaccine, with only 6,517 being diagnosed with autism. With over 650,000 children who’d received it, that’s a ratio of just 0.93 per cent.
The study found the MMR vaccine did not increase the risk of autism in children who were not considered at risk, and did not trigger it in those who were already at risk.
Researchers at the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen came to the following conclusion:
The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination.
It adds to previous studies through significant additional statistical power and by addressing hypotheses of susceptible subgroups and clustering of cases.
Scientists are hoping the scale of this research will help prevent people believing misinformation from various sources including social media.
Anders Hviid, who lead the study, is worried about the popularity and momentum the anti-vaxx movement is gaining.
He told STAT:
The idea that vaccines cause autism is still going around. And the anti-vaxx movement, if anything, has perhaps only grown stronger over the last 15 years. The trend that we’re seeing is worrying.
Despite the research and the continual proof vaccines are the best way to protect a child against harmful diseases, the number of parents not vaccinating their children continues to increase.
At the start of 2019, the World Health Organisation voiced their concerns over those refusing to get themselves or their children vaccinated.
Vaccine hesitancy was listed as one of the 10 biggest threats to global health across the world, along with air pollution and Ebola.
The report stated:
Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.
Only time will tell whether this latest research will encourage parents to get the MMR vaccine for their children. If they don’t, cases of measles and other diseases will only rise.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.