Does MMR vaccine cause autism?

Biology / 4 min read / 5th Jan 2022

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Lazy Science Reader,

Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Steve Jobs, Tim Burton, Emily Dickinson, Bill Gates, Henry Cavendish, Temple Grandin. What do all these great people have in common? All of them were/are autistic. How much do we really know about this condition? Let’s get to it then. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or simply autism includes a range of conditions where an individual has a lack of social skills, is challenged with repetitive behavior and speech. ASD can be recognized usually from the age of 2 to 3 and people with ASD often want to be alone. They have trouble understanding others’ as well as their own feelings, they don’t play pretend games such as more children do, they do not point at objects to show interest and they mainly avoid eye contact. Before moving on to the risks and causes of ASD, an important point is whom to consult when ASD symptoms are noticed. Developmental Pediatricians, Child Neurologists, Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists can be consulted.
Risks and causes of autism:
• Genes
• Children having a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of getting ASD too
• Children with genetic or chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome can develop autism
• During pregnancy, the prescription drug thalidomide has been linked with a higher risk of ASD
But the real question as lies in the title of this article itself is that does the MMR vaccine really cause autism? The answer is a NO. In 1998, a British researcher (Andrew Jeremy Wakefield) was involved in a fraud through an article published in a paper called The Lancet. It came to be known as the Lancet MMR autism fraud. This was a study which falsely claimed a link between measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Other articles which state that MMR vaccine does not cause autism include Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis, Vaccines Are Not Associated with Autism: An Evidence-based Meta-analysis of Case-control and Cohort Studiesand many more. There has been no clear evidence that vaccines are even linked to autism and Wakefield was being funded by lawyers who were seeking evidence to utilise against vaccine producers. To be more specific, Wakefield’s article stated that measles vaccine virus present in MMR vaccine caused inflammatory bowel disease, allowing harmful toxins to enter the bloodstream and damage the brain. Due to the invalidity of this, Wakefield was restrained from practising medicine in the United Kingdom and the Lancet withdrew the original article in 2010.

Now we know that anything in science can’t simply be claimed without solid proof and this incident was a perfect example. People still speculate and question whether vaccines are somehow linked to autism but till now, no such evidence or case study has proven such. Stay tuned for more articles!


  • Autism spectrum disorder is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the United States. ASD is more common than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.
  • Early behavior-based interventions have positive effects on some children with autism spectrum disorder and less note-worthy effects on other children. Early services need to be based on individual children's needs and learning styles. Services for adults with ASD must be carefully individualized.
  • Each child with autism spectrum disorder is a unique individual; people with ASD differ as much from one another as do all people. Children and adults with ASD may speak or interact with others. They may have good eye contact. They may be verbal or non-verbal. They may be very bright, of average intelligence or have cognitive deficits.