Autism and Immunizations

Studies in the past have claimed that autism and immunizations may be linked due to the use of mercury in childhood vaccines. In the US, fears centered around the ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal after a 1999 government report revealed that three childhood vaccines—diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (DTaP); Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib); and hepatitis B—might expose infants to more mercury than anyone had realized. Based on this finding, speculations were born that autism might be a form of vaccine-induced mercury poisoning.

Mercury is known to damage nerve cells in very low concentrations.

An article about the link between autism and immunizations in the March 10, 2006 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons shows that there is a link between autism and immunizations and rates have declined since mercury has been removed from childhood vaccines.

Early Downward Trends in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Following Removal of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines, published by doctors David and Mark Geier, shows that since mercury was removed from childhood immunizations, the increase in reported rates of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders have severely dropped by as much as 35%. Using the government's own databases, these independent researchers analyzed the connection between childhood Neurodevelopmental Disorders, including autism, and immunizations, before and after removal of mercury-based preservatives.

Medical journal: Study linking autism, vaccines is 'elaborate fraud'

Andrew Wakefield became famous when he published a 1998 article in the Lancet, a respected British medical journal. He connected the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the onset of childhood autism. Wakefield’s findings were received enthusiastically by the anti-vaccination movement. Many famous celebrities helped to spread his message. Scientists always questioned Wakefield's article. Additional studies did not replicate Wakefield's results connection autism and immunizations, and Lancet published a retraction of the article. Investigation by Sunday Times journalist, Brian Deer, discovered that, Andrew Wakefield, had many implicit conflicts of interest, had duped the evidence, and had broken numerous ethical codes. Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct in May 2010 and was discharged from the Medical Register and banned from practicing medicine in the UK. In 2011 the BMJ declared the research fraudulent.

The damage was already done...

Andrew Wakefield never mentioned that parents of children who believed their kids were damaged by the MMR vaccine were paying him when he published his study in Lancet. The article caused parents to panic. Vaccination rates in Britain and the U.S. nosedived. In 1998, there were 56 U.K. rubella cases. By 2008, 1,370 were reported, and in 2008 the United States had probably the most rubella cases since 1997.

Despite overwhelming evidence proving otherwise, one in four Americans still think their child is at risk for getting Autism from the MMR and other vaccines. Due to such fears, the first half of 2008 saw the largest US outbreak of measles which, was one of the first infectious diseases to reappear after vaccination rates dropped since 2000. Mumps and whooping cough have also made a comeback. Last year in the US, five children contracted Hib, the most common cause of meningitis in young children before the vaccine was developed in 1993. Three of the children, including a 7-month-old who died, hadn't received Hib vaccines because their parents were too afraid to vaccinate.