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Vaccine Myths

December 13, 2007

A listener asks: is there any truth to rumors that vaccines cause autism?


Autism rumors laid to rest. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The causes of autism are still not fully understood, leaving many people confused about its origins. Listener James of Sherman, Texas, emailed to ask whether there’s any truth to rumors that the measles vaccine causes autism. We turned to Dr. Richard Judelsohn, a pediatrician at the Erie County Department of Health in New York. He says upon an exhaustive review of the evidence, U.S. health officials have found no causal link between the vaccine and autism rates. And studies have shown that thimerosal, a preservative once common in childhood vaccines, has no connection with autism either.

DR. RICHARD JUDELSOHN (Erie County Department of Health):
…It’s basically been eliminated and yet the incidence of autism and developmental delay in general has been unchanged, in fact, they continue to rise.

He adds that vaccines continue to prevent thousands of deaths every year. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.