Home / Medicine & Policy / Major Autism Research Group Says Vaccinate Your Children

Major Autism Research Group Says Vaccinate Your Children

vaccinationAutism Speaks, the national advocacy group that raises awareness and funds for research and treatment of autism, released a statement in support of vaccinating children against measles.

“Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism,” said Rob Ring, Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks. “The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.  We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.”The group made the statement in efforts to end the vaccination debate stemming from the recent measles outbreak that began earlier this year at Disneyland in California.  The number of people infected to date has reached 104 in 14 states due, in part, to people who refuse to vaccinate their children.

California officials announced their intentions to introduce legislation to require vaccinations.

“The high number of unvaccinated students is jeopardizing public health not only in schools but in the broader community,” said California state Senator Ben Allen, who is co-sponsoring the bill. “We need to take steps to keep our schools safe and our students healthy.”

If passed, California would become the 33rd state to prohibit parents from opting out of vaccinations based on personal beliefs.  Currently, 19 states allow a personal belief exemption.

Colorado, which permits opt-outs, has the lowest vaccination rate in the U.S. at 81.7 percent.  The highest rate is in Mississippi’s 99.7 percent.  The New York Times reports that “only children with medical conditions that would be exacerbated by vaccines may enroll in Mississippi schools without completing the immunization schedule,” which is one of the strictest policies in the nation.

The Autism Speaks statement is a milestone in a debate caused by a 1998 report in a British medical journal claiming that the MMR vaccine leads to autism.  The journal later found the report to be false and retracted its findings, and the physician who wrote the article, Andrew Wakefield, was stripped of his medical license.

-Brad Broker

Photo by By United States Department of Health and Human Services via Wikimedia Commons.

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