In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread. Trump has helped spread misinformation.
The good news is that this survey find only 10 percent believe in the bogus idea.
Daniel A. Cox and John Halpin report at the Survey Center on American Life:
In 1998, a study published in Lancet, a reputable medical journal, found an association between autism and the MMR vaccine, administered to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella. Since then, several peer-reviewed studies, including a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, found vaccines do not cause autism. However, rising rates of autism diagnoses fueled concerns about whether childhood vaccines cause autism. Prominent public figures, such as the actress Jenny McCarthy, have become passionate spokespersons in opposition of vaccinations.
Despite the widespread coverage of the anti-vaxxer movement, few Americans believe that vaccines are responsible for autism. Ten percent of Americans say the statement “childhood vaccines have been shown to cause autism” is mostly or completely accurate. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans say the claim is inaccurate, including nearly half (45 percent) who say it is completely inaccurate.
Across the demographic divide—gender, education, age, and political affiliation—few Americans embrace the link between childhood vaccinations and autism. However, white Americans are more likely to reject the claim. More than seven in 10 (72 percent) white Americans say the assertion that autism is caused by vaccines is mostly or completely inaccurate, while fewer Hispanic (58 percent) and black Americans (46 percent) say the same. Notably, although black Americans are not more likely to say the claim is accurate, they are more likely than Hispanic and white Americans are to express uncertainty about it (41 percent vs. 31 percent and 19 percent, respectively).