A study of data from 1.25 million children worldwide has dismissed any link between childhood vaccines and the development of autism.
Researchers from the University of Sydney pooled data from all available studies on vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and the combined MMR vaccine. Their findings found no correlation whatsoever between vaccination and the emergence of autism in children.
Doubts over the safety of the MMR vaccine in relation to autism were first raised in 1998 by British Scientist Dr Andrew Wakefield, but his findings were later retracted with Wakefield’s professional reputation being severely damaged. However the anti-vaccine movement continues to have influence worldwide, particularly among parents of young children for whom vaccination can be a highly emotive topic.
Associate Professor Guy Eslick, who led the research, said he hoped the findings would put the “final nail in the coffin” of the anti-vaccination movement, which has been blamed for recent worldwide spikes in cases of measles and mumps.