WASHINGTON (NBC News) – In the late 1990s a British researcher published a paper linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella or “MMR” vaccine.
That paper was later found to be fraudulent; the researcher was discredited and stripped of his medical license.
Still, the frightening idea stuck in parents’ heads and many still worry, despite more than a dozen other studies debunking any link between autism and vaccines.
Now another major study has found the vaccine doesn’t trigger autism.
“There is no increased risk. Period,” says Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist with Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
A health consulting firm in Virginia called the Lewin Group studied more than 95,000 children. Some were already at risk for autism because they had older siblings with an autism spectrum disorder.
Despite that increased risk, getting the MMR vaccine made no difference in the expected rates of autism.
The MMR vaccine is more than 97 percent effective in preventing measles. Concerns over a link to autism, though, have led to a decline in vaccination rates.
Most of the 147 people infected with measles during the recent outbreak that surfaced at a Disney theme park in California had not been vaccinated.