Systematic review shows no link between vaccines and autism

I know that it’s settled science that there is no link between vaccines and autism, but here’s a systematic review, the pinnacle of the hierarchy of biomedical research, that, hammers the point home.

So, I am going to review the systematic review that once again shows that there is no link between autism and vaccines.

vaccines autism systematic review
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Autism and vaccines – systematic review

I wanted to look at one of the best scientific studies to date regarding any links between autism and vaccinations, even though it’s nearly two years old. It should slam the door shut on any claims that vaccines are related to autism. I’m not naive, so I know that won’t happen, but this study should help to convince anyone on the fence about vaccines..

The research, published in the journal Vaccine, is a meta-analysis of five cohort studies involving 1,256,407 children, and five case-control studies involving 9920 children. As I’ve written before, meta-analyses are 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.

view of ocean during golden hour
Photo by Александр Прокофьев on

So what did the authors find?

  • There was no relationship between vaccination and autism (OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.06).
  • There was no relationship between vaccination and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] (OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.68 to 1.20).
  • There was no relationship between [autism/ASD] and MMR (OR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.70 to 1.01).
  • There was no relationship between [autism/ASD] and thimerosal (OR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.77 to 1.31).
  • There was no relationship between [autism/ASD] and mercury (Hg) (OR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.93 to 1.07).
  • Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.

OR is a statistical term, odds ratio, which provides us with the chances that one property, vaccination, is associated with another, in this case, autism.

An odds ratio of around one means there’s no effect or no correlation. As the number gets larger than 1.0, then there is statistical evidence that there is an association. On the other hand, OR much less than 1.0 indicates a negative association.

The findings here, most of which were substantially below 1.0, indicate that not only is there no association between autism and vaccination, but one could hypothesize that vaccination reduces the risk of autism.

Autism and vaccinations


Let’s repeat what the authors of the study wrote:

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.

This isn’t just 12 children, like what Andrew Wakefield used in his discredited and retracted research (and read about itherehere, and here). This is a powerful epidemiological meta-review that completely refutes the link between autism and vaccinations – I hope that anyone considering not vaccinating their child sees this and understands that it’s pretty close to being all you need to know about whether there is a link.

Vaccines save lives. Get your children vaccinated.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2014. Because of a few issues with the article, it was rewritten and published here. This is an important study that persuasively establishes that vaccines are not linked to autism.

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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!