Back in 1998, a study was published that linked childhood vaccines to the development of autism in otherwise healthy children. Dr. Andrew Wakefield published the study in the Lancet, and parents began to panic. The study was flawed, however. It was not based on statistics, there was no control group, it relied on people’s memories instead of hard data, and the conclusions of the study were vague.
In 1999, other scientists began studying Dr. Wakefield’s claims. A study of 500 children done in 1999 found no link between vaccines and autism. A study of 10,000 children in 2001 still found no link between vaccines and autism. In 2002, separate studies in Finland and Denmark of over half a million children each once again found there was no link between vaccines and autism.
In 2004, Lancet released a statement refuting Wakefield’s original study, stating he had falsified facts. Scientists have continued to study this issue thoroughly and have still found no link between vaccines and autism.
In spite of the multiple legitimate studies that have concluded that vaccines do not, in fact, cause autism, many parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children out of fear. One quarter of parents in America believe that vaccines can cause autism in healthy children, and many of them are under the false belief that opting out of vaccines only affects their children and no one else.
Diseases that were once nearly eradicated are making a comeback. In 1980, prior to widespread vaccination against measles, there were 2.6 million measles deaths worldwide. As of 2012, 84% of babies have been vaccinated against measles, and global deaths have dropped to 122,000 for that year. Similarly, a 2010 outbreak of whooping cough in California had been attributed to vaccine refusals.
It’s time to get the facts straight on vaccines. Learn more from this helpful infographic, and be sure to share it with your friends.