The MMR Vaccine and Autism – 12 children is not enough

Life with a newborn, Life with baby
MMR vaccine and autism Wakefield study

I wrote a post on why I thought we should vaccinate our children here. In writing it, I started researching the MMR vaccine and autism. I knew I didn’t believe the claims, but I really cannot believe what I read, so here goes…The MMR vaccine and autism new mummy blog

To those who ask “does the MMR not cause autism?”… It is now known ‘that’ study by Wakefield was completely flawed, not robust and has been completely superseded by subsequent research. Multiple studies in multiple countries have not substantiated those claims.

Here are a few reasons why the original research was flawed and why it should be completely ignored:

  1. The first major reason is that the General Medical Council (GMC) investigation struck off the author and ruled the research was “dishonest, irresponsible and showed callous disregard for the distress and pain of children” (NHS, 2010 quoting GMC, 2010). It was also unethical as children were subjected to unnecessary invasive tests, and, in actual fact the real medical records could not be traced to those reported in the journal! The media were also told off for their naive reporting of such a non-robust study. A good summary of the GMC findings can be found here, on the NHS website, and the full GMC findings here).
  2. A HUGE reason not to believe the original research is the fact it was retracted by the journal which published it! The original research by Andrew Wakefield?and published in The Lancet in 1998 studied “12 children (mean age 6 years [range 3-10], 11 boys)”. The research found that “Onset of behavioural symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination in eight of the 12 children, with measles infection in one child, and otitis media in another. All 12 children had intestinal abnormalities” (Wakefield, 1998).  I’m sorry, but a study of 12 children of such varied ages, all of whom had other medical issues, and, where it was the parents who said that these behavioural symptoms were associated with the MMR, is not robust, and not statistically significant. I really can’t believe anyone published it, never mind it was taken seriously. To me this shows the danger of the media, and I completely agree with the court case.
  3. No links! Several international and UK based studies have found no link between autism and the MMR. Not only that but in 2003, the World Health Organisation, also found no link between them, and they studied 11 epidemiological studies mostly from the previous 4 years. Not just a one off study which didn’t have any ‘controls’ like the Wakefield paper!?http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/mmr/mmr_autism/en/
  4. One study I have to mention is the largest ever study of it’s kind, and found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The study was published just last year (April 2015) in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This study involved 95,727 children aged 2-5, including both children who had and had not received the vaccine. It also included 2,000 children who were at a higher risk of being autistic. The study found no link, no higher autism rates in the vaccinated children, and crucially no higher rates of autism in the children who were at a higher predisposition to have autism. I read a summarised version of the report on Autism Speaks here, and also the original in JAMA here.

For goodness sake a robust study must contain more than 12 children, must have a control group and must not include what has been called faked data (it couldn’t be traced to the original medical files apparently!)! It all seems so flawed, it’s a shame it took so long for the article to be retracted and caused such a huge impact on the uptake of the MMR vaccine.

I respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but surely the experts know best? Surely all the research and boards these vaccinations pass tells you something? Surely the fact the government pays for EVERY child to have these tells you something? Surely the fact that the incidence of measles, mumps and rubella increased following the media circus that followed Wakefield’s press conference, show these vaccines work. These vaccines help keep all of our children safer, so please just give them the immunisation.

Lynne x

 

References:

Autism Speaks website news: No MMR-Autism Link in Large Study of Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Kids: https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/no-mmr-autism-link-large-study-vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated-kids

JAMA, 2015, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2275444

GMC, 2010, General Medical Council, FITNESS TO PRACTISE PANEL HEARING
28 JANUARY 2010:?http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/01January/Documents/FACTS%20WWSM%20280110%20final%20complete%20corrected.pdf

NHS News, 2010, Ruling on Doctor in MMR Scare: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/01January/Pages/MMR-vaccine-autism-scare-doctor.aspx

WHO, 2003, World Health Organisation, MMR and Autism: http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/mmr/mmr_autism/en/

Wakefield, 1998, The Lancet, Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children:?http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)11096-0/abstract

 

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42 Comments

  • Reply
    Childhood vaccinations are important and help protect baby from horrible illnesses. Why would you not protect your baby from them?
    January 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    […] To those who ask ‘does the MMR not cause autism’… ‘that’ study by Wakefield was completely flawed, not robust and has been completely superseded by subsequent research, including multiple studies in multiple countries, none of which substantiated those claims.  I got rather into researching the MMR side of this  and so I wrote a blog post just on it here: “The MMR Vaccine and Autism – 12 children is not enough”. […]

  • Reply
    Someone's Mum
    January 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Brilliant! I have looked at this research many times myself but it’s a really useful tool to have it all summarised and linked in one place like this. Thanks!

    • Reply
      newmummy
      January 20, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you for your kind comment. I put a lot of work into this and really feel quite passionately about it now.

    • Reply
      Someone's Mum
      January 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      This keeps happening – finding I had already commented before a linky! Too efficient, me 😉 #KCACOLS

  • Reply
    lizzie
    January 20, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    This is really interesting, it’s definitely something I worry about but I couldn’t not vaccinate against the harmful diseases. It’s good to know there’s not much backing behind their study and hopefully there isn’t a link
    lizzie recently posted…It’s Confirmed 12 Things That Made me a Terrible ParentMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      January 20, 2016 at 11:06 pm

      It is worrying, but like you, I’d never want my baby to have these diseases. Side effects aren’t great, but are pretty much a fact of life. Thanks for commenting x

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 21, 2016 at 12:41 am

    I do wonder what has caused the dramatic increase in autism, but until there is better researched data that connects these dots, the benefit of immunizing our children far outweighs any known risk

    • Reply
      newmummy
      January 21, 2016 at 7:42 am

      Absolutely! I do wonder, if like so many other things, it’s partially due to quicker and better diagnosis and a higher tendency to seek a diagnosis.

    • Reply
      Mrs Tubbs
      January 21, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      We asked our GP about this specifically and he said that doctors had got better at diagnosing autism. The statistic to look at, apparently, are the ones relating to vaccine uptake and autism. If there was a link between the two, the cases of autism would have gone down according to him and they hadn’t.

      Great post! I entirely agree with your points and it’s good to see all the facts in one place.

      • Reply
        Mrs Tubbs
        January 25, 2016 at 11:37 am

        Back again from #anythinggoes

  • Reply
    Claire at Life Love and Dirty Dishes
    January 21, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I have always immunised my children. A friend really brought home the importance though as her child has health problems, and the consequences of her getting one of these illnesses would be fatal. We are not only protecting our little ones, but other too. #brilliantblogposts

  • Reply
    Lady Nym
    January 21, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Bloody Andrew Wakefield makes me so angry. He has done untold damage and children have literally died because of the unethical, unscientific rubbish he wrote. Both my boys have ASD (one diagnosed and the other too young) and it would be easy for me to say their traits started appearing around the time of the MMR. In truth, though, with hindsight I can see the signs were there from when they were tiny babies.
    Lady Nym recently posted…Has Autism Increased?My Profile

  • Reply
    Talya
    January 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    This is a brilliant post and one that every parent needs to read! Unfortunately not many of us take the time and effort to dig deep and find out the truth about many of the grand sweeping claims we read in the media but a few like you do and it is simply invaluable. Thanks so much for spreading awareness of this and linking it up to #coolmumclub lovely x
    Talya recently posted…Welcome to the #coolmumclub…week 13!My Profile

  • Reply
    Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods)
    January 21, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    My son is currently being assessed for autism and his pediatrician thinks he will get a diagnosis by the end of the year. I don’t blame the MMR vaccine at all. It’s such a shame that so many are bow afraid to give their kids the MMR vaccine. Well done for pointing out why the link to MMR and autism is a load of bull with evidence to back up your argument too.

    #coolmumclub
    Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) recently posted…The Importance Of Newborn ScreeningMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katy
    January 21, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I remember reading about the flaws in the research project a while ago – it’s staggering that so many people still perceive the link to autism which is why its so important to keep sharing things like this. And these are life threatening illnesses we’re talking about, that we have the ability to vaccinate against. #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Katy recently posted…Playing the Pregnancy CardMy Profile

  • Reply
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    January 21, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    It’s awful how that report gained so much awareness! It was shared everywhere & frightened every parent out there including myself. I gave my three children the MMR but in the back of my mind, I worried if it could cause autism. The report placed a could of question over the MMR. It’s scandalous that such a dodgy report that isn’t backed up with proper research could make such a negative impact on vaccinations. It’s great that you are sharing this info! #coolmumclub x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Blogger Club UK Linky 1My Profile

  • Reply
    mummuddlingthrough
    January 21, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    I bow down to your amazing analytical summary. Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub with such a fab post
    mummuddlingthrough recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 13My Profile

  • Reply
    Rebecca | AAUBlog
    January 21, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks for this interesting post. While I agree that the Wakefield study was clearly flawed and isn’t useful in anyway, there are some interesting points at the moment, particularly with countries like Japan. they have changed introducing vaccinations until after 2 years of age. I’m still looking into it all but as you know, there is so much out there!
    Rebecca | AAUBlog recently posted…The Benefits of Coconut OilMy Profile

  • Reply
    Catie: An imperfect mum
    January 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Amen to this, all of this. When I read the title I must admit my heart sunk and I thought oh no not another vaccine story. The whole thing has been so damaging to autism and has lead many people in what for me is the wrong direction. I am not in thebusiness of looking for cures, I see my role as an autism parent as loving and supporting my child and helping others to understand how he sees things, not in trying to change him! Awareness and acceptance not cures!

  • Reply
    Bumbis Mom
    January 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I have a daughter who is currently testing on the spectrum. She is current on her vaccines and she showed signs of developmental delays very early on. We have been pro-active with getting her the appropriate therapies and she is quickly gaining pace with her peers. This was a well researched post. Thanks you for linking up with the #FabFridayPost
    Bumbis Mom recently posted…Part 2: What Are We Blogging For?My Profile

  • Reply
    Rachel (@self_led_learn)
    January 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Excellent post. Still hearing people not wanting to vaccinate and quoting supposed evidence… good to see some real research!!!

  • Reply
    Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault
    January 22, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I remember having such a fight in my head when I gave the boys their MMR vaccines. My sensible head said it was absolutely the right thing to do but my emotional side was all over the place …. and to think there was no risk and how many children suffered unnecessarily because of this misinformation. #Alittlebitofeverything
    Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault recently posted…Polytunnel ProgressMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jessica Powell
    January 23, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Great post! Getting the vaccination done was a total no-brainer for us, but the scaremongering over the years has been such that a lot of people don’t know how completely flawed the original research was. I read a really eyeopening article on Cracked last year too about how medical and scientific research is published in first place – I’d assumed it would be the same kind of process as the humanities, but it was all about money. Getting the article sponsored, how much could be made from it, etc, etc. #FabFridayPost
    Jessica Powell recently posted…Vogue – 73 QuestionsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mama Curtiss
    January 23, 2016 at 3:26 am

    I am baffled that people still blame autism on vaccines when it has been YEARS since the study was retracted and the myth was dispelled. Thank you for sharing this, the more that speak and educate on this, the better. While working on my BSN, I took every chance to write, speak, and educate on this topic, especially in my general education classes.

    I was surprised by the uproar of Mark Zuckerberg’s picture on Facebook from Max’s 2 month well baby appointment and the statement of her getting her vaccinations. I made following statment on Twitter “Other parents choose to vaccinate their babies and children beside Mark Zuckerberg. #vaccinate #sayyes #ichoose #herdimmunity #mamacurtiss” to which not a single person ‘Liked’ or responded at all. I sum it up to fear of judgment from the anti-crowd.

    As a new mama of a beautiful 10.5 week old baby girl, I vaccinate to not only protect my baby but to also protect yours.

  • Reply
    Su {Ethan & Evelyn}
    January 23, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Great research! Very informative too. I am rather shocked that you can call a study of only 12 children a research. Who ever does that kind of thing? Shame on them. Thank you for linking up with #FabFridayPost
    Su {Ethan & Evelyn} recently posted…My Sunday Photo: Salty StationMy Profile

  • Reply
    The Speed Bump
    January 24, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    You’re spot on and this is something every parent should read! Other important factors to consider, in addition to the study not being scientifically valid, reliable or otherwise sound, is that the onset of autism symptoms occurs at around the time of MMR vaccination even in children who haven’t been vaccinated. That’s just the point in the child’s development where the differences become apparent.

    This is really well-researched and written. #KCACOLS
    The Speed Bump recently posted…On Aquariums And ToddlersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Laura @ Dot Makes 4
    January 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    It’s great to read some proper research! Very informative too. As if parents don’t worry enough, they had to worry about this too.

    Laura xx
    #KCACOLS
    Laura @ Dot Makes 4 recently posted…A Better Night’s SleepMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kathy @ hopes, dreams and chocolate
    January 24, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    A very good and informative post.
    I will confess to not vaccinating my girls with the annual flu vaccines, BUT they are up to date with all of their childhood vaccines. I believe this is so important for both the child and the ‘greater good’.
    I recently had a cervical cancer scare. I am ok but I am so relieved that my girls will benefit from a vaccine against this. #KCACOLS
    Kathy xxx

  • Reply
    wendy
    January 24, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    This is a really informative post and I think all parents should read it, you have clearly done a lot of research. I didn’t think twice before getting my little boy vaccinated,it is so important to prevent these diseases. Will share this post on my Twitter xx #kcacols
    wendy recently posted…A frosty walk at Titchfield AbbeyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Clare
    January 24, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I have your other post open, ready to read. This post is great. As a parent to an autistic child the sheer suggestion that a vaccine causes it angers me so much. All these people trying to preach over this ridiculous research is beyond me! It was clearly flawed from the start and your post shows exactly why! Thank you! #bloggerclubUK xx
    Clare recently posted…Let’s Etsy!: Getting organisedMy Profile

  • Reply
    Emma
    January 25, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Great post. You have done fantastic research and it is great to have it all in one place and also very important that you are raising awareness! #fartglitter

  • Reply
    Tracey Abrahams
    January 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I feel for parents who have autistic children and who have believed their actions caused it. My own nephew did not have the development pattern where everything seamed ok and then suddenly seems to go backward, and my brother never believed the link theory anyway, but for some people the timing of the injections and the onset of observable symptoms are so close that its not hard to see why the two were believed ro be linked.
    Thanks for linking up, Tracey xx #abitofeverything
    Tracey Abrahams recently posted…I’m (Not) A SurvivorMy Profile

  • Reply
    Life as Mum
    January 25, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    This was an interesting read.
    Thank you so much for linking up to #justanotherlinky
    Life as Mum recently posted…Gro-Clock ReviewMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mudpie Fridays
    January 25, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    This is a great post putting it in plain english. I wish I had read this when I got Monkey vaccinated. It would have left me in doubt. Thank you for sharing this with at #BloggerClubUK, hope to see you again next week x
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…Our Visit to Bird WorldMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katie/Squirmy Popple
    January 26, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Well said – it’s nice to see a reasonable post about this topic with actual references rather than just opinions! #TheBabyFormula
    Katie/Squirmy Popple recently posted…6 reasons why grandmas are the bestMy Profile

  • Reply
    laura dove
    January 26, 2016 at 11:35 am

    This is so interesting, especially to me as we have had so many issues following the MMR. Before the MMR Megan was a “normal” baby, a few medical issues but she had grown out of them quite well. Within an hour of her MMR jab she was completely paralysed, lost the ability to speak, move, walk. She was rushed into hospital where she was seen by several specialists, one of which had to Google this condition, and we were told that she had had a severe reaction to the MMR and it had, hopefully temporarily, affected her brain. It took several days for her to regain the ability to speak/walk/function and yet after that moment she seemed changed, indefinitely. She is now waiting to be assessed for ASD (which they wont officially do until the age of four) and I know that it is all likely to be a coincidence, and the reaction was so incredibly rare, but part of me does think, what if?
    We are now faced with the terrifying prospect of her MMR booster later this year and whether we allow her to have that booster and risk the same reaction. We are obviously torn between the worry that she is open to such terrible diseases or the prospect of another reaction which in our eyes, changed our daughter? It’s so tough. Sorry to waffle, really interesting post. #TheBabyFormula
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  • Reply
    Something Crunchy Mummy
    January 28, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Great research. Well done for writing this as it will inform those that believe this research. Thanks got linking up to #justanotherlinky xx
    Something Crunchy Mummy recently posted…My Running JourneyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
    January 29, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Yes! It really worries me when parents blindly follow the ranting of The Daily Hate and other rags without checking beyond the headlines. Thanks for this.

    #fartglitter
    Mama, My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows recently posted…Day Trips with a ToddlerMy Profile

  • Reply
    A Moment with Franca
    January 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    This is really interesting to read. I didn’t know that there were links between the MMR vaccine and autism but I’m glad to know that anyway that it is not the case. Another great post! Thanks so much for sharing such an informative post at #KCACOLS. I hope it helps people who still has the doubt about this.
    A Moment with Franca recently posted…Review of Muggle Tours for Harry Potter Fans & GiveawayMy Profile

  • Reply
    February Bucket List - New Mummy Blog
    February 3, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    […] at the amazing response to my ‘Why would you not vaccinate your baby?‘ and ‘The MMR and Autism – 12 children is not enough‘ posts! Your comments and sharing really meant a lot. Please keep sharing to get this vital […]

  • Reply
    Kat
    April 3, 2016 at 11:44 am

    This is a really interesting read and I’m glad I came across this post. I’ve never believed in the ‘link’ between MMR and Autism, but I do agree that everything we use to make ourselves feel better has a side effect. Some are completely devastating. I am sure the MMR has resulted in plenty of bad reactions and very, very rare issues as an above commenter said which is just awful. There is a part of me, however, that feels we always want a situation or something to blame when there’s a change.

  • Reply
    What a difference a year makes... - New Mummy Blog
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