Do Vaccines Cause Autism?

Is it true that vaccines cause autism? The answer to that question is no. There is absolutely no correlation between autism and vaccines. How do you know vaccines don’t cause autism? You might ask. Well this theory has already been debunked multiple times.

Why Do People Believe This Theory? 

It all began in the late 1990’s, more specifically 1998, when this “doctor” named Andrew Wakefield came up with an appalling hypothesis that stated measles, mumps, rubella, and autism were all caused by vaccines. They published this hypothesis to Lancet Journals, which is a popular media outlet, and that added more credibility to the hypothesis, as well as Andrew being a doctor. Wakefield’s hypothesis would later be proved false and his medical license would be stripped. Even though the hypothesis was proven false, the damage was done and people began to question the safety of vaccines. This led to many parents “seeing a correlation” between autism (a neurodevelopmental condition that appears during childhood) and kids who get vaccinated young. These are the reasons many people believe vaccines cause autism, and we can all thank Andrew Wakefield for that.

How Was the Theory Proven False?

First things first, Wakefield’s hypothesis was not put into the science records due to scientific misconduct. That means that Wakefield’s hypothesis was very improper and unreasonable to be put into the science records. Secondly the main reasons this theory was proven false was because there was:

  1. No link between autism and vaccines. There was a study done by the National Academy of Medicine that said, “The aOR (95% CI) of ASD associated with each 25-unit increase in total antigen exposure was 0.999 (0.994-1.003) for cumulative exposure to age 3 months, 0.999 (0.997-1.001) for cumulative exposure to age 7 months, and 0.999 (0.998-1.001) for cumulative exposure to age 2 years. Similarly, no increased risk was found for autistic disorder or ASD with regression” (Destefano, Price, and Weintraub). What the evidence is stating is that there is no connection between ASD ( Autism Spectrum Disorder) and vaccines. 
  2. After the forensic dissection on Wakefield’s hypothesis at the GMC (General Medical Council), it was said that the hypothesis was an elaborate fraud because it was ethically and scientifically flawed.

Lastly, after many years has passed, even more evidence came out about Wakefield’s hypothesis and why it’s fake. It appears that Wakefield tampered with medical forms of patients to make it seem like his hypothesis was true.

I can see and understand why so many people believed this theory, and that is because Wakefield was a doctor and a doctor is supposed to be someone you trust. Doctors aren’t supposed to be people we shouldn’t  trust or worry that they would lie to us. It’s also honestly quite sad that even after the hypothesis was proven false, there were still so many people that believed the theory. All because of Andrew Wakefield, there are poor, unvaccinated children that are getting sick and dying. Andrew Wakefield’s hypothesis caused so many parents to fret about what to do for their child’s health. All thanks to Wakefield, there is this broken trust between doctors and citizens.

In conclusion, the idea of vaccines causing autism is false, and it has led to many children being more vulnerable to infections and diseases.

Aidee Marin – St. Ignatius College Prep – DMSF Class of 2027