Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccine: Does Immunization for MMR Cause Autism?

Q: Would it be safer to separate the MMR vaccine into its individual components instead of giving as one shot?

A: There is no confirmed scientific research or data to indicate that there is any benefit to separating the MMR vaccine into its individual components. Splitting the MMR vaccine into three separate doses given at three different times would cause more discomfort from additional injections and would leave children exposed to potentially serious diseases.

Q: Should a sibling of an autistic child, or a child of someone who has autism, be vaccinated?

A: Yes. Current scientific evidence does not show that MMR vaccine, or any combination of vaccines, causes the development of autism, including regressive forms of autism.

A younger sibling or the child of someone who suffered a vaccine side effect usually can, and should, safely receive the same vaccine. This is especially true since the large majority of side effects after vaccination are local reactions and fever, which do not represent a contraindication.

Q: Should we delay vaccination until we know more about the negative effects of vaccines?

A: No. There is no convincing evidence that vaccines such as MMR cause long-term health effects. On the other hand, we do know that people will become ill and some will die from the diseases this vaccine prevents. Measles outbreaks have recently occurred in the U.K. and Germany following an increase in the number of parents who chose not to have their children vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. Discontinuing a vaccine program based on unproven theories would not be in anyone's best interest.

From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. For more information on CDC's National Immunization Program, visit their Website.

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