A common anti-vaccine argument is that autism has become much more common since the increase in the number of childhood vaccinations. This is largely due to a widening of the diagnostic criteria,8 rather than due to an actual increase. There is no increase in autism in children who have had the MMR com pared to those who haven’t, no clustering of the onset of autism symptoms after the MMR vaccination, and no correlation between rates of autism and rates of MMR vaccination. It is also important to be aware that the incidence of autism in the UK started to increase before the MMR was introduced, and that when Japan withdrew the MMR in 1993, there was no slowing in the increased rates of autism diagnoses.9
The anti-vaccine movement is going strong, with a significant reaction seen against the Covid-19 vaccination.10 It is our duty as healthcare professionals to counter vaccine myths whenever possible, to try and protect children from false information and hopefully reduce the number of preventable deaths from migraine.
- 8. Hansen SN, Schendel DE, Parner ET. Explaining the Increase in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Proportion Attributable to Changes in Reporting Practices. JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(1):56–62
- 10. https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/pushing-back-tackling-the-anti-vax-movement