MMR vaccines do not cause autism

Another unsupported Facebook meme.

So, here we ago again with the trope that “courts confirm that vaccines cause autism.” It all started when I saw a Facebook meme (the lazy person’s way of transmitting information) that stated that some obscure Italian court rules that MMR causes autism. These memes are backed up by blog posts from the usual suspects claiming that courts are confirming that vaccines cause autism mostly based on a oft-ridiculed year-old Italian Provincial Court ruling.

To quote one of the vaccine denialists:

At the center of the fifteen-year controversy is Dr. Andrew Wakefield of Austin, Texas. It was Dr. Wakefield that first publicized the link between stomach disorders and autism, and taking the findings one step further, the link between stomach disorders, autism and the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

For that discovery way back in 1996, and a subsequent research paper published by the doctor in 1998, Andrew Wakefield has found himself the victim of a world-wide smear campaign by drug corporations, governments and media companies. And while Dr. Wakefield has been persecuted and prosecuted to the extent of being unable to legally practice medicine because of his discovery, he has instead become a best-selling author, the founder of the Strategic Autism Initiative, and the Director of the Autism Media Channel.

But in recent months, courts, governments and vaccine manufacturers have quietly conceded the fact that the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine most likely does cause autism and stomach diseases. Pharmaceutical companies have even gone so far as to pay out massive monetary awards, totaling in the millions, to the victims in an attempt to compensate them for damages and to buy their silence.

Oh am I going to have so much fun debunking this stuff.

Let’s start with the ruling from a provincial court in the middle of Italy that disregarded all other science.

  1. MrAndy Wakefield‘s paper alleging a connection between MMR and autism has been retracted by the Lancet. The Italian court pretended that real science did not retract the article and, instead, used the retracted article as a basis of their ruling.
  2. Mr. Wakefield perpetrated a fraud, described in detail in a series of articles in the British Medical Journal, here, here, and here. The investigations revealed that Wakefield committed fraud in an attempt to make money from trial lawyers who were seeking to sue MMR vaccine manufactures. That’s bad enough, but it was also discovered that Wakefield owned rights to another measles vaccine, and by destroying the credibility of the MMR version, he had planned to make significant amounts of money in marketing his own. All of these intents to commit fraud, along with the actual commission of fraud, lead to Wakefield being stricken from the rolls of physicians and surgeons in the UK. Of course, none of these points mattered to the Italian Court.
  3. Of course, those Italian courts decided that geologists who were not able to predict an earthquake (nearly impossible to do, scientifically) were guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in jail. The Italian courts obviously are clueless about science, but they have a long tradition of suppressing science.
  4. But let’s be clear. Legal systems are not built on the scientific method. They are incapable of deciding which evidence is scientifically sound and which is not. Courts decide on the law, they are mostly incompetent on deciding on the value (or non value) of scientific evidence, that’s not how they’re constructed. In fact, most court’s foundations are based on what science calls “false equivalency,” because it gives each side the right to make its own claims irrespective of the quality of evidence, and a panel of non-experts (a jury) is supposed to determine which side’s evidence is better. That doesn’t work in real science.
  5. Despite a very large list of peer-reviewed scientific studies (listed below) that completely debunks any link between MMR vaccines and autism, why on earth would the Italian court decide the exact opposite? Well, courts are not infallible, so they occasionally make errors. The ruling of the provincial Italian court of jurisdiction, approximately at the level of a US state district court, can be appealed, which is ongoing. Apparently, the Italian Health Ministry also didn’t present the list of information to that court that I just did above–from comments made in Italian language skeptics blogs, it appears that the Health Ministry laughed off this court case, because it appeared to be a nonsense claim.
  6. Finally, to play the conspiracy game that the tin-hat wearing vaccine deniers love, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Luca Ventaloro, is a well known Italian anti-vaccine advocate who provides legal advice on how to avoid compulsory vaccinations. Ventaloro used, as his  “expert medical witness,”, Massimo Montinari, who has not authored any biomedical research papers on autism, MMR or vaccines; however, Dr. Montinari did author the book “Autismo: i vaccini fra le cause della malattia” and sells his own autism “cure” protocol. As the tin-hat types always say, “follow the money.”

Next up is the claim that the Vaccine Court, which is the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims who administers a no-fault system for litigating vaccine injury claims (the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or NVICP), was paying out “billions of dollars in claims.”

  1. The court was set up as a method to quickly review claims against vaccine manufacturers for injuries from vaccines, and quickly weed out claims that are not obviously related to vaccines. The reason this court was established to shield manufacturers from the  excessive litigious nature of Americans (to both make money and to blame anyone but themselves). It was becoming apparent that the cost of this litigation for manufacturers, usually made by attorneys trolling for business, was going to drive away vaccines from the US market. And rational people know that no vaccines means a lot more deaths, so they set up a system, funded by a tax on vaccines, to pay for damages that might have been caused by a vaccine.
  2. Let’s be clear. All medical procedures have a risk. Taking acetaminophen has a risk. Having surgery has a risk. And getting a vaccine has some risk, no one says that vaccines are perfectly safe.
  3. Since the “Vaccine Court” was established, over 1.8 billion (billion!) doses of vaccines have been given to children in the United States. As of December 2011, the program, since being established in 1988, has paid out $2,213,229,050.37 to 2,810 people, an average of around $760,000 per claim settled.
  4. This means that the courts are paying around $0.99 per every dose of vaccine delivered. And the number of claims is around 1.8 per 1,000,000 doses of vaccines administered.
  5. And this ignores the fact that courts aren’t deciding on science. Many of the claims are made despite the lack of causal evidence, but more on a Post hoc ergo propter hoc correlation.
  6. In fact, the Autism Omnibus trials, which was specifically set up to adjudicate claims that vaccines cause autism, has rejected all three test cases and subsequent appeals have failed.

But the real news is that there is no news. Because the anti-vaccination lunacy lacks any substantial support for their various tropes about vaccines causing any number of things, including autism, they need to rely on hero worshipping of one of the great scientific frauds of all time, Andy Wakefield, or on a minor Italian provincial court, or on exaggerating claims from the NVICP.

On the other hand, there is a wealth of evidence that specifically and conclusively refutes the hypothesis that there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism:

Let’s review. The Italian Courts made a bogus decision based on a fraudulent paper from no-longer-a-doctor Wakefield that was withdrawn by the publisher. After billions of doses of vaccines given, a tiny number of people have made claims that vaccines have caused injury, adding up to about $1.00 per vaccine dose. Again given that all medical procedures have some risk, the fact that vaccines saves thousands, if not millions, of lives in the USA, the tiny risk is overwhelmed by the huge, scientifically supported benefit. And we’re not even sure if there’s a real causality between the vaccines and those injury claims from a scientific point of view. And finally, peer reviewed articles in high impact journals establish that there is no link between the MMR vaccine (and in some cases, any vaccine) and autism. MMR vaccines (or any vaccine) do not cause autism. Wishing it so, or claiming it’s so, doesn’t make it so.

Vaccines save lives.

Use the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.

Key citations:

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  • Hero Miles

    Spin Article.

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  • Xerocky

    There are no scientific or medical controversies about this conclusion.”

    Because we said so, that’s why.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      No because real science says it’s so. What do you have? Lies? Misinformation? Fraudulent claims by Wakefield?

      Yeah, basically, you’ve got nothing dude. Just go find a conspiracy website to whine.

  • Graham Gambier

    Here is the video about the admission of the autism cover-up:

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Oh geez, you’re behind the time dude. Paper got retracted. Wakefield is still a criminal whose culpable for the deaths of thousands of children. A

      I’m glad you believe in Science Fiction. You probably think that aliens abduct children and reptilians control our government. LOL.

      • Graham Gambier

        Ad hominem attacks are no substitute for reasoned argument! Are you claiming that his testimony to his own actions is of no probative value? What then is the mechanism? Did he lie in this video and falsly accuse himself then recant, or did he make a mistake and then correct himself? Perhaps, just perhaps, he was ‘got at’. Whoops! my tin-foil hat just slipped.

        • Skeptical Raptor

          Well dumbass, you might be right under normal conditions. But you are closeminded, a science denier and show the intellect of my left testicle. Since ALL of the scientific evidence leads to only one conclusion, that vaccines do not cause autism, how should I have have a discussion with you? You’re ignorant. You lack education. You are closedminded. And your lack of logic is amazing.

          So, yeah, at that point, all you get is an ad hominem. If it hurts your feelings go to some other blog and whine how stupid you are to others. I’m sure you’ll get sympathy from your fellow ignorant fools.

          • jamieson

            lmao Antoine Bechamp and Dr. Wilhelm Reich both refuted the germ theory of disease a long time ago.
            Dr. Marcia Angell, the editor of New England Journal of Medicine for 20 years, wrote the following:
            “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” (NY Review of Books, January 15, 2009)

          • Skeptical Raptor

            They did? The refuted it? Please provide the peer-reviewed article that supports this.

            As for Marcia Angell, she made a few points. But I’d rather read an article that outlines good design and results than read lies and misinformation from someone who thinks that Germ Theory has been refuted. I mean some people deny it, but some people deny evolution, climate change and other scientific facts.

          • jamieson

            It’s not in any articles, because over 6 tons of Wilhelm Reich’s books were burned by the US government during the red scare after being vilified by the AMA for treating cancer patients, the fact that his books were burned is even on wikipedia. Let’s keep this civilized please, just saying, I’ve been researching the US medical system for years because my aunt was diagnosed with bipolar, my brother with aspergers, my cat and dog died from cancer years ago, my uncle died from liver cancer last year, and my cousin is currently going through chemo for breast cancer. I’ve been looking for a cure for cancer for years, I’ve concluded that while Wilhelm Reich was not right about everything, he was certainly on the right track for treating cancer patients and did not deserve to be treated the way he was. The books you need to read are The blood and it’s third element by Antoine Bechamp, and The Cancer Biopathy by Wilhelm Reich. You won’t find a peer-reviewed refutation of the germ theory of disease but you will find extensive and repeatable experiments and evidence in those books.

            Starfield reveals the American medical system kills 225,000 people per year—106,000 as a direct result of pharmaceutical drugs.

            April 15, 1998; “Incidence of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients.” It, too, is mind-boggling.

            The authors, led by Jason Lazarou, culled 39 previous studies on patients in hospitals. These patients, who received drugs in hospitals, or were admitted to hospitals because they were suffering from the drugs doctors had given them, met the following fate:

            Every year, in the US, between 76,000 and 137,000 hospitalized patients die as a direct result of the drugs.

            Beyond that, every year 2.2 million hospitalized patients experience serious adverse reactions to the drugs.

            The authors write: “…Our study on ADRs [Adverse Drug Reactions], which excludes medication errors, had a different objective: to show that there are a large number of ADRs even when the drugs are properly prescribed and and administered.”

            So this study had nothing to do with doctor errors, nurse errors, or improper combining of drugs. And it only counted people killed who were admitted to hospitals. It didn’t begin to tally all the people taking pharmaceuticals who died as consequence of the drugs, without being admitted to hospitals.

            Dr. Aleksandra Niedzwiecki: “Commentary on the Safety of Vitamins.”

            Here are two key quotes from her article:

            “In 2010, not one single person [in the US] died as a result of taking vitamins (Bronstein, et al, (2011) Clinical Toxical, 49 (10), 910-941).”

            “In 2004, the deaths of 3 people [in the US] were attributed to the intake of vitamins. Of these, 2 persons were said to have died as a result of megadoses of vitamins D and E, and one person as a result of an overdose of iron and fluoride. Data from: ‘Toxic Exposure Surveillance System 2004, Annual Report, Am. Assoc. of Poison Control Centers.'”

            Summing up:

            No deaths from vitamins (2011), and three deaths (2004) from vitamins/iron/fluoride.

            106,000 deaths every year from pharmaceutical drugs (Starfield).

            Between 76,000 and 137,000 deaths from pharmaceutical drugs every year in hospitalized patients (Lazerou).

            The masses are treated to non-stop PR on the glories of the US medical system.

            “US military casualties of war,” the grand total of all military deaths in the history of this country, starting with the Revolutionary War, is 1,312,612.

            In any given 10 years of modern medical treatment? 2,250,000 deaths (Starfield). Read the study “Is US health really the best in the world.” Published in the JAMA

            so considered those facts coming straight from the AMA before you deny the information I’m about to give you.

            Here is information on Bechamp and Reich:







            Also concerning evolution and climate change, I’m not going to deny those things, but based on the discoveries of Reich and others like Nikola Tesla, the actual facts about those topics may not be what you think they are, consider this information:


            Reich was Sigmund Freuds protégé and at one time considered a prodigy by the psychoanalysts, they didn’t like how political he was though, writing books like The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Based on my research of Reich and others, I would say that Pure Darwinian evolution is beset by Reichian, Bergsonian, and Lamarckian evolution.

          • jamieson

            And this is what I’ve concluded about the medical system based on the Starfield study, they are not looking for a cure for cancer, and the whole debate surrounding Obamacare has been nothing but a distraction from the fact that the medical system is killing people at an alarmingly high rate, and Obamacare is coercing people into that system. Try this analogy, you work in some branch of the gov’t dealing with transportation, every third car is faulty and falls apart causing an accident at speeds higher than 40mph, as a result politicians pass legislation to lower the driving age so next year there will be millions more drivers on the road. what do you do? You can help me bring this information to people, I’m positive I’m on the right track with my cancer research and I plan on telling as many people as possible in the next few months because I more or less know how to cure cancer. It’s just a matter of being thorough with my research so I know what can be done so that the treatment will work every time

          • Xerocky

            “peer reviewed’ = think what WE tell you to think.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            No peer-review is a method to determine the quality of research. Top journals get cited the most because they have top reviews.

            So, you still have nothing dude. You’re still fairly lame.

          • Xerocky

            It’s also a method of quieting the voices that those in power fail to approve of.


          • Skeptical Raptor

            Yes, go ahead and refer to an “open access” journal with a low impact factor where people publish because they can’t get stuff into real journals.

            A real scientist examines any published article for value. They weigh the quality of the journal, the reputation of the authors, the methods, the analysis and the conclusions. Real science is constantly peer-reviewed and cited by others. That’s what makes for REAL science, not the fake science presented by your close minded ignorant self.

          • Xerocky

            “A real scientist examines any published article for value. They weigh the quality of the journal, the reputation of the authors…”

            In other words they cherry pick for their own financial ends, and do whatever they can to join in the ridicule of anyone who dares to come in between themselves and their funding.


            “in short, at least in biomedicine, there’s not much we know for sure about the reliability of peer review.”


          • jamieson

            Hey, are you just going to ignore the elephant in the room or are you actually going to address the facts I’ve presented to you. It would be much more productive than directing tons of ad hominems against people skeptical of what you’re calling “REAL SCIENCE”, you should learn to actually analyze IDEAS instead of SOURCES

            Here’s a medical study
            I haven’t cited before: “A new, evidence-based estimate of patient
            harms,” by JT James (J Patient Saf, Sept. 9, 2013).

            The key quote:

            “…the true number of
            premature deaths [in US hospitals] associated with preventable harm to
            patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year.”

            Putting it bluntly, the US medical system kills 400,000 hospital patients every year.

            This is a huge
            increase over the previous figure I’ve cited: 119,000. That number comes
            from Dr. Barbara Starfield’s review, “Is US health really the best in
            the world?”. It was published on July 26, 2000, in the Journal of the
            American Medical Association. At the time, Starfield was a revered
            public-health expert at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

            Starfield told me, in a 2009 interview, that she was unaware of any serious government effort to fix the system.

            In her review,
            Starfield also concluded that, every year in the US, the medical system
            kills 106,000 patients as a result of the administration of FDA-approved
            pharmaceutical drugs.

            You can Google “FDA
            why learn about adverse drug effects,” and you’ll find an FDA page which
            states that, indeed, 100,000 people die every year in the US from
            ingesting these medicines.

            So let’s put these numbers together.

            400,000 patient deaths
            every year in US hospitals. 100,000 deaths every year from medicines.
            These deaths are directly caused by the medical system.

            500,000 deaths every year.

            That would be 5 MILLION deaths caused by the US medical system every decade.

            Roughly 2.5 million
            people die every year in the US, from all causes. So 1 out of every 5
            deaths in the US stems directly from the medical system.

            But that’s not all.
            The 2013 study cited above also concludes: “Serious harm seems to be 10-
            to 20-fold more common than lethal harm.”

            Translation: every
            year in the US, hospitals cause between 4 million and 8 million
            incidents of serious harm—which means coma, temporary flatlining,
            stroke, hemorrhage, unnecessary major surgery, life-threatening
            infection, etc.

            Neither Starfield’s
            nor JT James’ 2013 review explicitly considers vaccine damage. As I’ve
            reported before, the best estimate I’ve found was made by Barbara Loe
            Fisher, of the National Vaccine Information Center.

            It takes into account
            the fact that the reporting system for vaccine adverse effects is broken
            and only a fraction of harm is recorded. Understanding that doctors and
            patients only report between 1 and ten percent of adverse effects from
            medical drugs, Fisher uses that comparison to conclude that, every year
            in the US, between 120,000 and 1.2 million adverse effects occur from

            Looking over the figures in this article, you can decide what the US medical system is really doing to people.

            You don’t need the
            medical propaganda of mainstream media. You don’t need the hype of
            doctors who appear on television to promote their work. You don’t need
            government assurances. You don’t need the ceaseless warbling of
            “non-profit” medical fundraising groups with their causes. You
            certainly don’t need the flag-waving promotion of Obamacare—which will
            bring many more people into the very system that is wreaking all this

            And finally, note
            this. The medical powers-that-be and their Pharma brethren are fully
            aware of the public figures I’m citing. They know. And many doctors do,

            But they roll on.

            Over the years, I’ve
            sent some of these numbers and journal-citations to mainstream medical
            reporters. I’ve never received one reply, much like you never replied to the FACTS I’ve presented to you

          • jamieson

            Just going to ignore facts, huh? Pretty lame. There are many experiments outlined in the books I cited, you’re arguing from ignorance.

          • jamieson

            I’ve been looking through your articles. Your logic and the science you’ve been citing is full of holes and you’re supporting junk science that’s killing people. Hope you decide to get your act together soon before the gene drift from GMOs spreads to all of the organic crops. Idiot

          • Xerocky

            Anybody who uses the phrase ‘science denier’ is an a hole.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            Only a true science denier would say that. Wonder who’s the real asshole. LOL

          • Xerocky

            The reason that only an a hole calls someone else a ‘science denier’ is because ‘denial’ aka debate, is what scientific inquiry is based upon. Using that idiotic phrase exposes you as a hack. You think you’re taking the high road because you’re citing ‘peer reviewed’ studies, and then ridiculing anyone who thinks about anything past that. It’s pathetic.

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  • chefjas

    Well it now seems that your attempt at “debunking” has been officially debunked.

    Dr. William Thompson of the CDC has come forward and ADMITTED he lied about the connection between MMRs and vaccines. If I were you, I would delete this blog post as quickly as possible.

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    • Defenestrator

      I notice that you didn’t include YOUR credentials.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      I was chief janitor. I would give the floor outside of the CEO’s office a bitchin’ polish.

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