The end of the vaccines cause autism myth

If you know none of the details of the antivaccination lunacy, then your education should start with the perpetrator of one of the greatest scientific frauds, MrAndy Wakefield. Mr. Wakefield published a paper, subsequently withdrawn by the highly respected medical journal, Lancet, that blamed the MMR vaccine (vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella) for causing autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

From that one fraudulent article, some of the most dangerous outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases can be laid at the feet of Wakefield, as parents started to refuse to vaccinate their children against these diseases. And of course, billions of dollars, money that could have been spent on actually treating and assisting children with ASD, was spent to investigate this claim, with over 100 peer-reviewed papers completely dismissing and debunking any link between any vaccine and any type of autism.

Let me make this abundantly clear– the vaccines  cause autism myth has never been supported by real science even when we looked hard for evidence.

New research

But one more article, one more peer-reviewed paper has just been published that should slam the door shut on the vaccine-autism myth. But I am not naïve, I know that the antivaccination cultists will invent some logical fallacy to continue to lie about the tie between vaccines and autism. The research, published in the journal Vaccine, is a meta-analysis of fivecohort studies involving 1,256,407 children, and five case-control studies involving 9920 children. As I’ve written before, meta-analyses form the basis, the deep foundation, of the scientific consensus, and they are the highest quality scientific evidence available. This study is like a gigantic clinical trial because it rolls up the highest quality data from those millions of subjects to develop solid conclusions.

So what did the authors find?

  1. There was no relationship between vaccination and autism (OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.06). This means that the odds that a person has autism and being vaccinated is equivalent to the odds that a person has autism and not being vaccinated.
  2. There was no relationship between vaccination and ASD (OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.68 to 1.20).
  3. Similarly the case-control data found no evidence for increased risk of developing autism or ASD following MMR, Hg, or thimerosal exposure when grouped by condition (OR: 0.90, 95% CI: 0.83 to 0.98; p=0.02) or grouped by exposure type (OR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.76 to 0.95; p=0.01).


Because we obviously cannot provide enough evidence to convince those perpetuate the vaccines cause autism myth, I feel compelled to emphasize the author’s conclusions:

Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder. Furthermore, the components of the vaccines (thimerosal or mercury) or multiple vaccines (MMR) are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.


This was a powerful, large, and well analyzed meta-review. It takes all of the evidence and data that had been developed previously, and rolled it up into one huge cohort and clinical trial. And once again, we find that vaccines don’t cause autism.

Ending the vaccines cause autism myth

Given this information, maybe Age of Exploiting Autism will shut down. Anything they say now about vaccines and autism is simply denial or worse yet, a horrific lie, which will lead to the deaths of children.

But I’m a realist. The vaccines cause autism myth will continue to shared amongst the antivaccination cult.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2014. It has been completely revised and updated to include more comprehensive information, to improve readability and to add current research.

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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!