[Boston Globe, 5/19/19]
Re “Contain measles outbreak with these two simple steps” (Editorial, May 8):
Families make the choice not to vaccinate their children for various reasons. Among them is the long-held fear that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine may cause autism. This belief is based on a widely discredited study published in the medical journal Lancet in 1998, which resulted in researcher Andrew Wakefield losing his medical license.
Vaccinations do not cause autism.
Even as the number of unvaccinated children increases, autism diagnosis rates continue to rise. The fact is, depriving a child of the MMR vaccine will not help him or her avoid a diagnosis of autism, but it could place that child’s health at significant risk.
As we continue to communicate the critical importance of early diagnosis and intervention for young children with autism, we have a responsibility to push back against the misinformation that the MMR vaccine can cause autism.
Cynthia M. Anderson
Director, National Autism Center