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The Truth about The MMR Vaccine and Autism


Lately the news has featured some conflicting information about the potential for measles, mumps and rubella vaccines causing autism. Both anti-vaxers and those in favor of mandatory vaccinations for kids are in a tizzy about whether their children are being placed in harm's way because of these shots. Read on to learn about the issue.

What is the MMR vaccine?

Many schools and childcare facilities in the U.S. require that enrollees have a series of preventative shots. One is the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, referred to as MMR. Science Daily wrote that the shot is a combination of live attenuated viruses, or weakened versions of the materials that cause measles, mumps and rubella. After receiving the vaccine, the body builds up an immune response to the three diseases, greatly reducing the child​'s chances of developing a full case of any of the trio. 

What is autism?

Some of the parents claiming their children became autistic after getting the MMR vaccine have learned that their kids have autism spectrum disorder. This developmental disability may be present in around 1 in every 68 kids in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Studies have shown no link between autism and MMR vaccines."

Are autism and MMR linked?

Before vaccines are administered they must go through rigorous Food and Drug Administration testing. Each shot goes through many trials to ensure that any potential side effects, both long- and short-term, are minimal and temporary. Acceptable side effects may include rash or bruise at the injection site or low-grade fever for several days after the shot is administered.

In the case of some parents reporting that their children have autism because of the MMR vaccine, it is possible that they simply did not realize their child was on the autism spectrum until after they heard about the potential link in the news. The CDC noted that several studies, including one in 2013 and one in 2011, researched the adverse effects of the MMR vaccine. Both concluded that there is no correlation between autism and the injection, and there was no increased risk of having autistic disorder. 

Should your child get vaccinated?

With the above scientific information, your family can decide whether to vaccinate your children. It is important to note that you may have a difficult time finding a child care provider or school that will admit your children if you choose not to vaccinate them. This preventative measure can greatly affect the health of small localized populations, such as that of the classroom and school, as well as the overall well-being of an entire generation in the event that a measles, mumps or rubella outbreak occurs.

Family physicians can administer the necessary shots to ready your kids for school or daycare in one or two quick appointments. The shots themselves are over quickly and often come with a colorful bandage and even a lollipop for the child. Some schools even offer vaccines through the nurses office, so ask about these programs at your school.

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