A major new study has found that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism – and in fact, vaccinated children are slightly less likely to be autistic.
The Danish scientists say that it is now ‘clear’ that there is no link between the jab and autism.
The study followed 657,461 children born after 1999 to see if there was any link between the vaccine and autism.
There was no evidence of a link, or of ‘clusters’ which suggested the jab was having an effect – and children who had the jab were very slightly less likely to be autistic.
Groups on social media have spread false messages linking vaccines to autism – and as a result, rates of measles have risen, experts have said.
Dr Anders Peter Hviid of the Statens Serum Institute: ‘MMR is not associated with autism. I would say that this is very strong scientific evidence against an association.
“I think it is understandable that some parents are uncertain and concerned given the anti-vaccine stories that are easy to encounter on the internet. However, the science is clear, there is no link.”
Every year, 1.5 million children around the world die from diseases which can be prevented with vaccines – and so-called ‘anti-vaxxers’ contribute to this.
‘Anti-vaxxers’ refuse to immunise children, in the (mistaken) belief that vaccines cause conditions such as autism.
The main factor leading to the outbreaks are parents refusing to vaccinate children – leading to vaccination levels as low as 70% in some areas.
Measles claimed 72 lives across Europe last year as the number of cases reached the highest level for a decade, the World Health Organisation said.