Is the link between the MMR and autism justified?

IAS News 25 April 2013 | 0 Comments

With the recent outbreak of measles cases in South Wales in the UK over the last couple of months, the question has once again been raised about the MMR vaccine and the risk of developing autism. It was Dr Andrew Wakefield who first raised this question and who, after being made aware of several cases of children developing autism after being exposed to the MMR vaccine, decided to look into the pre-licensing research carried out into the vaccine both before and after it was used in children. His report, which reaches 200 pages, found the science used and results found was ‘appalling’, and concluded with the recommendation that parents of children who were due to have the MMR should take the option of a single vaccine. You can watch a YouTube video of Dr Andrew Wakefield discussing the situaiton here.
6 months after this statement by Dr Wakefield was made, the UK government removed the single vaccine from the market, removing the option for parents. The answer to questions regarding why, was due to giving parents the options would potentially ruin the MMR vaccine program. However were there real concerns for the MMR vaccine? The link between MMR vaccine and autism seems to have been confirmed by US and Italian courts that have awarded claims to those who bought cases against the state for this reason.
The recent large outbreak in South Wales in the UK has been suggested to have been created by the removal of the single vaccine from the market. Parents no longer have the option of not taking the MMR in favor of the single vaccination; instead they simply choose not to take part in the program. Vaccine failure seems to be the reason for such an outbreak due to the current highest uptake of the MMR vaccination, either in not enough of those being given the vaccine are creating immunity to the illness, and those that do find the immunity not lasting as long as it should. 1 in 31 boys in the US, 1 in 38 children in South Korea affected by autism; this was only 1 in 10,000 30 years ago.
Of course there may be other reasons for such a large proportion of those who have been given the vaccine coming down with autism. It may be down to more doctors being aware of the symptoms of autism and diagnosing it more freely then previously, or there may be other environmental factors involved that we are as yet unaware about. However there are studies showing both sides of the coin , including one by the CDC, and this article in Time magazine shows the opposite side of the argument very well. Tell us what you think about the potential link between autism and the MMR.

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