Vaccine safety reaffirmed
New study puts vaccine-autism link to bed amid a measles resurgence in New Zealand.
A nationwide study of all Danish children born between 1999 and 2010 has found further evidence the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination does not increase the risk for autism - even in children with other autism risk factors, or in kids with siblings who have autism.
The SMC asked experts to comment on the study and on the rise of measles.
Despite several studies over the past 20 years repeating this finding, the vaccine-autism link persists in the anti-vaxxer movement. Andrew Wakefield - author of the now-withdrawn 1998 study which claimed the MMR vaccine caused autism, has continued to push this message, most recently through his film Vaxxed.
Professor Michael Baker from the University of Otago in Wellington told Larry Williams the study was "very reassuring for any parents who are worried about the possible link".
"Scientists are very reluctant to ever say that there's definitive proof about anything, but I think this is about as close as you can get."
The study was published amidst a measles outbreak in Canterbury, which has 14 confirmed cases as of Thursday.
Nikki Turner, director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre told the SMC measles have been eliminated from New Zealand and since 2012 all cases stem from people bringing the disease into the country.
"Most cases are occurring in young adults who were unaware they were not completely immunised when they were young," some of which were from vaccine hesitancy in the 90s, following the Wakefield paper.
Last week, the Ministry of Health warned travellers to make sure they were immunised against measles following outbreaks overseas in the Philippines and in parts of Europe.