Why you (hopefully) won’t hear claims that the MMR vaccine protects against autism

Matt Carey made the following point in a comment in this post about the CDC’s recent report on national vaccination rates; I thought it was worth highlighting:

Despite being the state with the second lowest MMR vaccine uptake rate in the country, New Jersey has among the highest reported incidences of autism. As Matt wrote, “I expect that if there were a high MMR uptake in New Jersey, we’d be hearing about it loud and clear from those promoting vaccine-causation.”

I’ll go a step further. If pro-science vaccine advocates adopted the same approach that many vaccine opponents do — i.e., if they refused to acknowledge the difference between correlation and causation or if they cherry-picked irrelevant data in an attempt to prove preconceived notions of reality– these figures would undoubtedly be used to try to prove that the MMR vaccine actually prevents autism.

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9 Responses to Why you (hopefully) won’t hear claims that the MMR vaccine protects against autism

  1. Hopefully these kinds of numbers, which certainly don’t show any link between vaccines and autism, will help to continue the trend of more kids getting vaccinated.

    Although anti-vaccine advocates continue to say that measles is a mild illness, the many severe measles cases that we hear about also help prove that isn’t true. The child in Minnesota with measles has spent a month in the hospital already, including two weeks in the ICU, when they didn’t think he would survive.

  2. I absolutely love this. So insightful, clever and to the point! Too bad the vaccine opposers can’t seem to apply their brand of faulty logic to see the benefits of vaccines. We’ll be posting this on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/VaccinateYourBaby) These are just the kind of statements that ellicits interesting discussion there. Thanks!

  3. jre says:

    As you may know, a recent (2010) study in Poland[1] compared autism prevalence among unvaccinated children, those receiving the MMR vaccine, and those receiving a monovalent vaccine. Autism rates were highest among the unvaccinated, and lowest among the MMR cohort — yet nobody stepped up to claim that the MMR vaccine was protective against autism.

    [1] The study was possible because of Poland’s unique history: the reforms of 1989 and relatively late entry to the EU in 2004 left a patchwork of public health measures, with different vaccines used at different times.

    ______________________________________________________

    Lack of Association Between Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination and Autism in Children: A Case-Control Study

    Budzyn D, et al. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. Vol. 29, No. 5, May 2010
    Researchers in Poland compared vaccination history and autism diagnosis in 96
    children with autism, ages 2 to 15, as well as 192 children in a control group. For
    children diagnosed (shd. be “vaccinated” -jre) before a diagnosis of autism, the autism risk was lower in children who received MMR vaccine than in nonvaccinated children. A similar result was achieved for the single-antigen measles vaccine.
    AUTHOR CONCLUSION: The study provides evidence against the association of autism with either MMR or a single measles vaccine.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19952979

  4. jre says:

    As you may know, a recent (2010) study in Poland[1] compared autism prevalence among unvaccinated children, those receiving the MMR vaccine, and those receiving a monovalent vaccine. Autism rates were highest among the unvaccinated, and lowest among the MMR cohort — yet nobody stepped up to claim that the MMR vaccine was protective against autism.

    [1] The study was possible because of Poland’s unique history: the reforms of 1989 and relatively late entry to the EU in 2004 left a patchwork of public health measures, with different vaccines used at different times.
    ______________________________________________________


    Lack of Association Between Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination and Autism in Children: A Case-Control Study

    Budzyn D, et al. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. Vol. 29, No. 5, May 2010
    Researchers in Poland compared vaccination history and autism diagnosis in 96 children with autism, ages 2 to 15, as well as 192 children in a control group. For children diagnosed (shd. be “vaccinated” -jre) before a diagnosis of autism, the autism risk was lower in children who received MMR vaccine than in nonvaccinated children. A similar result was achieved for the single-antigen measles vaccine.

    AUTHOR CONCLUSION: The study provides evidence against the association of autism with either MMR or a single measles vaccine.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19952979

  5. Bronson Terry, MD says:

    Well-written Seth (just like your book which, by the way, was excellent). I find that easy-to-understand examples like this are by far the most effective tools to use when discussing vaccines with parents who are hesitant. Keep up the good work!

  6. jre says:

    Sorry about the duplicate comment. Seth’s point is well taken — an honest approach to statistics requires a disciplined caution in drawing conclusions. That honesty, and that caution, are conspicuous by their absence among vaccine opponents.

  7. Michelle says:

    But of Course…..Why didn’t I think of that, Autism is caused by MMR vaccine Deficiency!

  8. Lisa says:

    What do you think about families of children injured by vaccines? Many people involved in speaking out about vaccine safety have already suffered vaccine injury and are struggling with the consequences. Do you think these parents are somehow benefiting from sharing their stories and their concerns? Federal law protects doctors and vaccine manufacturers from legal liability for vaccine injury and the federal vaccine courts have paid some families, but far from all who have suffered. Do you think all children should have their educations held over their head and be forced by state mandate to be vaccinated risking injury or death for “the greater good”? Do you feel that these concerned and experienced parents, parents of formerly healthy and normally developing children, deserve to be ridiculed and dismissed?

    • Chris says:

      Lisa:

      What do you think about families of children injured by vaccines?

      That they had their day in court. They were given the most lenient criteria for their evidence to be considered, and it seems that it was not enough. True, a few kids with real medical issues (some genetic) have been compensated, but in the end the vaccines have shown to be much safer than the diseases.

      What do you think of the parents whose children have been injured by the real diseases? I have been ridiculed and dismissed by those who claim vaccines cause harm. I have actually been told that if my son was injured by a disease it was just part of “natural selection.”

      Perhaps you should think about the little girl in Mr. Mnookin’s book with an immune disorder and needed herd immunity. Or to the babies who died from pertussis last year, ten in California and more in other states. How about Roald Dahl’s oldest child? What about the tens of thousands of children born disabled, or who were stillborn during the rubella epidemic in the 1960s? Or even to my son, who is permanently disabled from seizures while suffering from a now vaccine preventable disease.

      So they deserve your scorn? Or do you just limit that to the standards of public health? Or just to the evidence?

      Why don’t you argue the evidence? Please provide what real evidence you have that the MMR vaccine causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella. Make sure it is from the real scientific literature, and not written by someone who has had their medical license suspended, revoked or was paid by lawyers.

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