The children were followed-up again at ages one and 14. The US now is dealing with outbreaks of diseases like measles that had once been thought eradicated within the country. The researchers further concluded vaccination is not likely to trigger the developmental disorder in susceptible populations and is not associated with a clustering of cases appearing after immunization.
The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that children who had siblings with autism were seven times more likely to go on to be diagnosed with ASD than children without a family history of the disorder, and boys were four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
Subsequent studies have been unable to repeat the same results of Wakefield's study and have found no link between vaccines and autism.
The Centers for Disease Control and many others have long noted there's no proven link between vaccines and autism, and now the agency has yet another study to back those claims.
In fact, the research did uncover some interesting - but yet unstudied - conclusions and correlations pertaining to autism diagnoses. Wakefield lost his medical license in 2010, and in 2011, the Lancet pulled the study after an investigation revealed that Wakefield altered the information.
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And, children who had no childhood vaccinations were 17 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids who did get recommended vaccinations.
"This myth surrounding MMR and autism has existed for over 20 years and I think it's very important that there is some science-based response to that", Anders Hviid, a senior research with the State Serum Institute (SSI) who is among the authors of the new research, told DR Nyheder. Measles cases continue to rise, with the World Health Organization stating the global spike is the result of "gaps in vaccination coverage". Worldwide, incidents of measels increased 48.4% between 2017 and 2018, according to the WHO.
That paper, which included just 12 children, was later retracted because of errors, but myths around the vaccine continue to be shared.
With anti-vaccine groups becoming more vocal and even celebrities and politicians spreading fear of vaccines, Hviid and his team wanted to provide solid scientific answers.
Every year, 1.5 million children around the world die from diseases which can be prevented with vaccines - and so-called "anti-vaxxers" contribute to this.