You have probably heard at some point that vaccines cause autism. This mistaken belief stems from a 1998 study published in Lancet by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that makes that claim. Unfortunately, the study was based on people’s recollections and not statistics. There was no control group and it made vague conclusions that weren’t based in fact. In 2004, Lancet released a statement refuting the study, saying Wakefield and his team falsified facts and did invasive tests on children for which he hadn’t obtained the necessary ethical clearances.
Studies of the scientific data surrounding vaccines and autism began in 1999 and grew in size and scope as the misinformation contained within Dr. Wakefield’s original 1998 study spread like wildfire. Ten thousand children were studied in 2001, over a million in two studies in 2002, and data from 31 separate studies of over 10 million children were studied in 2005, all of which found no connection between vaccines and autism. By 2012, 14.7 million children had been studied in dozens of studies, and still there has been no link found between vaccines and autism.