In an utterly unsurprising turn of events, the most recent study to look at the link between vaccines and autism has found that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Dr. Anjali Jain recently published a study that looked at the unvaccinated younger siblings of vaccinated children with autism. But there was no correlation between those who received the MMR vaccine and higher rates of autism. Those who were vaccinated actually had a slightly lower risk.
Jain said “Our study confirmed that in kids with older siblings who we know are at increased risk of developing autism themselves, those kids are being vaccinated less. But in the kids who did develop autism who were vaccinated, there was no increased risk from the vaccine compared to kids who did not get the vaccine.”
Of course most of us knew this already. No study has found a connection between vaccines and autism. So why is everyone still focusing on the question? Why aren’t we researching better treatment, or focusing on support for those who have autism and their families?
Unsurprisingly it’s thanks to the tireless efforts of anti-vaxxers who continue to ignore the science and are spreading the fear of vaccinations, with more parents declining to vaccinating their children and a serious measles outbreak in California, so the need for education is still high. But there are already studies that show there’s no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, and those studies have not inspired parents to change their views.
As April is Autism Awareness Month, it does seem like an appropriate time to be talking about autism and how we can contribute to improvements for the autism community. And while reminding people that vaccines aren’t related to autism is an important task, there are many other elements to autism awareness that don’t get as much airtime and need to be talked about. These things include:
2. Effective and appropriate therapy techniques for autism
3. Visibility and acceptance of people with autism
There are many other issues that people who actually have autism want to talk about, concerns that they have, and needs that still aren’t being met. What the continued obsession with vaccines is doing is distracting from the lived experiences of those who have autism, and from making the world better for the people who actually live in it. Not only are anti-vaxxers promoting bad science and sowing fear of important medicine, they’re also making life even harder for the people they purport to care about. As April draws to a close, I’m going to commit to answering any question about autism and vaccines with a link to this site, and do my best to draw attention to other concerns of the autistic community.