Major European study finds no link between vaccines and autism

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A study of more than half a million children in Denmark shows there is no link between autism and the MMR vaccine, which is used to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella.

"Parents should not skip the vaccine out of fear for autism", said lead study author Dr. Anders Hviid of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The MMR vaccine is a baby's first line of defence against measles, mumps, and rubella.

The researchers also found that there was no increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination in subgroups of children with a sibling history of autism, autism risk factors, or other childhood vaccinations, or during specified time periods after vaccination. Using a population registry, they tracked 657,461 children for a decade finding that 6,517 of the kids were ultimately diagnosed with autism.

"We felt that it was time to revisit the link in a larger cohort with more follow-up which also allowed for more comprehensive analyses of different claims such as the idea that MMR causes autism in susceptible children", he added.

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The vaccine does not increase the risk of autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination, they found. He hopes the latest piece of evidence will reassure families with young children at risk of developing autism spectrum disorder that the vaccine will not increase that risk. Wakefield had been compensated by a law firm intending to sue manufacturers of the MMR vaccine, and in 2010, he lost his medical license. "I think it's fair to say a truth has emerged".

The hearing already has drawn attention as 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberg, who defied his mother's wishes for him to not get vaccinated, is testifying in front of the Senate committee.

In 2018, there was an nearly 50 percent increase in worldwide measles cases and approximately 136,000 deaths.

Vaccine hesitancy - a reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated or to have one's children vaccinated - has been heavily reported in recent months.

Every year, 1.5 million children around the world die from diseases which can be prevented with vaccines - and so-called "anti-vaxxers" contribute to this.

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