The MMR Vaccine & Autism Risk.

MMR vaccination - eightfold autism risk

Photo Courtesy: Time. Used in good faith.
A re-run of the 2002 Danish MMR vaccination - autism study [2], but this time also including children aged five and over, rather than cutting off at four years old, found that the Danish autism rate had in fact risen eightfold over the period since the introduction of the MMR vaccination. [3]
The children aged five and over were added in because, in Denmark, a diagnosis of autism is never made until the age of five, so you would not expect to find any diagnoses of autism in the four and unders. Even were greater awareness and better diagnosis of autism judged to account for half of these cases (a very generous allowance), that would still leave an extremely significant fourfold increased risk.
The researchers accepted that they have not proven a link between MMR and autism, but claimed to have shown that the original study was fundamentally flawed. (which found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccination and autism, and was widely publicised by the UK Department of Health).
A re-analysis of just the data used by the original 2002 Danish study by Dr Samy Suissa of McGill University in Montreal (Canada) [4] came up with an even more astonishing result. Contrary to the original ‘no link’ finding, diagnoses of autism within two years of an MMR vaccination increased to a high of 27.3 cases per 100,000 children compared with just 1.45 cases per 100,000 in non-vaccinated children. The children who had had the MMR vaccination were 45% more likely to have developed autism than the children who had not had the MMR vaccination.
A recent study by Dr Andrew Wakefield (who first suggested (1998) a possible link between the MMR vaccination and ‘regressive autism', where a child developing normally suddenly begins to regress) and Dr Carol Stott of Cambridge University showed that autism cases in Denmark had increased by 14.8% each year since MMR jabs were introduced. [5]
None of the above won any mainstream media attention.
Research or propaganda?
A recent study [1] which found no evidence of a link between MMR and autism was widely trumpeted by the media. It compared 1,294 children diagnosed with autism or other pervasive development disorders (PDDs) between 1987 and 2001 in England and Wales with 4,469 children of the same sex and similar age who were registered with the same general practices but did not have a recorded diagnosis of autism. Around 80% of both the autism and non-autism groups had received an MMR jab.
The validity of this MMR vaccination study has been challenged. It was based on the UK General Practitioner Research Database (diagnostic reports from GPs), whose validity as a basis for epidemiological research has been widely criticised. It stands accused in particular of massively under-reporting diseases like autism. These are often diagnosed by educational specialists rather than GPs so, inevitably, are not included in the GP database.
None of these studies differentiated between autism in general and the ‘regressive autism’ highlighted by Dr Wakefield and others, where a child whose neurological development appears to be normal starts to regress (about 10% of autism cases). Several questions need to be answered:
  • Why are researchers not differentiating between autism in general autism and ‘regressive autism’?
  • The 2002 Danish study researchers must have known that the Danish Health Service only diagnosed autism at five years old plus. Why did they limit their study to children under five?
  • Why has the UK and US media given the Danish study re-run so little coverage?
and going back in MMR history ...
  • Why was the 1992 mass MMR programme in the UK followed a year later by a sudden rise in autism levels?
  • Why were further mass MMR campaigns in late 1994 and in 1996 both followed by sudden and steep rises in autism figures a year later?
Can there any longer be doubt that the medical establishment wants to obscure any possible link between ‘regressive autism’ and the MMR jab?
Dr Dick van Steenis believes that ‘regressive autism’ is most likely when a Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus (DPT) jab, which until 2004 contained the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, is followed closely by the MMR jab. He calls for a study based on real children (rather than more or less accurately compiled databases) which compares children with ‘regressive autism’* to healthy children, dividing them into four groups: unvaccinated; vaccinated with the Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus (DPT) jab only; vaccinated with MMR only; vaccinated with the Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus (DPT) jab then vaccinated with MMR.
* i.e. not general autism, which can be caused by many factors.
[1] Madsen et al.
New England Journal of Medicine 2002;347(19):1477-82
[2] Goldman,GS and Yazbak,FE.
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2004;9(3):70-75
[3] Stott,C et al.
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2004;9(3):89-91
[4] ibid
[5] Smeeth,L et al. Lancet 2004;364:963-9 
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MMR - the façade cracks
The UK Government has been accused of “utterly inexplicable complacency” regarding its consistent denial that all reputable studies have shown that the triple MMR vaccination was safe. The attack comes not from some virulent anti-vaccination group, but from Dr Peter Fletcher, who was Chief Scientific Officer at the UK Department of Health in the 1970s, and a former medical adviser to the UK Committee on the Safety of Medicines. His main responsibility at that time was to decide whether new vaccines were safe. Peter stated that:
  • there was growing evidence worldwide that the MMR vaccination was causing brain, gut and immune system damage in certain children
  • neither the tenfold leap in autism over the last 15 years nor the huge rise in inflammatory bowel disease or immune disorders in children could be explained away by better statistics or diagnosis
  • epidemiological studies, frequently heralded by Governments as evidence of MMR safety, are blunt instruments unable to pick up the small numbers of children adversely affected by vaccines
  • the MMR safety trials conducted before its inclusion in the UK’s mass immunisation programme had been inadequate
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MMR dangers - eight tests before having an MMR vaccination
The UK Department of Health publication Immunisation against Infectious Disease 1996 states that “children who are immuno-suppressed either due to an underlying medical condition or (because they are) receiving immuno-suppressant treatment should not receive the MMR vaccination or other live vaccines until they have recovered from their underlying condition or completed immuno-suppressant treatment”. Immuno-suppression is determined by measuring the level of CD4+ T-Lymphocytes in the blood and the proportion they represent of all types of lymphocytes (the ‘soldiers’ which identify and neutralise invaders) present. [1]
The Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin [2] agrees. In the article MMR vaccine - how effective, how safe? (April 2003 p25-30) it warns that the MMR vaccination should not be given to children: with “untreated malignant disease or altered immunity due to disease or treatment”.[3] Examples given are:
  • “a child (who) has an acute (feverish) illness”
  • “a child (who) has received another live virus within three weeks or immunoglobulin within three months” [4]
  • “any child suspected of previously having had a cardiorespiratory (allergic) reaction to egg, gelatine, neomycin or other constituents of MMR vaccines” (ed.- like sorbitol, human albumen, lactose, mannitol, various amino acids). Mild egg allergy, however, is not considered to be a problem [5]
  • “If such a child is given MMR in error, close supervision in hospital is advised”
Dr Dick van Steenis argues that children’s vitamin and mineral status should also be checked prior to a vaccination:
  • Inadequate levels of vitamins A and E can drastically reduce a vaccine’s ability to provide protection. This is of particular concern given that the MMR vaccine itself depletes levels of vitamin A. Studies have consistently shown that vitamin A or vitamin E supplementation prior to a jab usually increases its effectiveness and durability [6]
  • Low levels of zinc or selenium, or high levels of mercury or cadmium, increase the probability of adverse reactions
The seven essential checks before giving an MMR vaccination are therefore:
1. Immune status - a child with compromised immunity may appear completely healthy
2. Vaccination history - no live vaccines or immunoglobulin within previous three months
3. Disease status - particularly feverish illnesses and malignancies
4. Allergy status - particularly to the MMR vaccine’s ingredients (egg, gelatine, neomycin, sorbitol, human albumen, lactose, mannitol, various amino acids)
5. Toxicity status - particularly mercury and cadmium
6. Vitamin status - particularly vitamins A and E
7. Mineral status - particularly zinc and selenium
An eighth test before giving an MMR vaccination?
Dr Andrew Wakefield points out that:
  • research suggested that children who had either natural measles or a single measles vaccination and natural mumps within the same year were at significantly greater risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease later [7]
  • both natural measles and a measles vaccination can depress the human immune system for at least a year
The additional test would therefore be ‘Has my child had either natural measles or mumps, or a measles or mumps jab in the last twelve months?’ If the answer is ‘Yes’ your child should not be given an MMR vacination.
Parents will know that such tests almost never happen, making a health lottery of every vaccination. Proper verification of disease, allergy, vitamin, mineral, immunisation and immune status is a long and expensive business, making safe mass immunisation programmes both unfeasible and unaffordable.
Of particular interest is the warning that the MMR vaccination (which contains three live viruses) should not be given to any child who has been given another vaccine containing a live virus during the previous three weeks. If this is an admission that injecting more than one live virus during any three week period may be dangerous, what does this say about the safety of injecting a triple live jab?
Ed.- The UK Health Minister Melanie Johnson stands by her Department of Health’s advice, but when asked whether babies should have a T-lymphocyte count prior to being given an MMR vaccination, rejected the idea: “Blood tests are unpleasant for babies and young children, and they are not always 100% accurate”, she explained.
[1] Gross,PA et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases 1995;21(supp 1):S126-27
[2] published by The Consumers Association for 40 years. Its aim is to provide consultants, doctors, nurses, other medical officers and medical students with impartial and balanced information and advice on drugs and treatments.
[3] Immunisation against infectious disease. Department of Health HMSO 1996
[4] Khakoo,JA et al.
British Medical Journal 2000;320:929-32
American Academy of Pediatrics Committees on Infectious Diseases and on Pediatric AIDS. Pediatrics 1999;103:1057-60
[5] Immunisation of the immunocompromised child. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. February 2003
[6] e.g. Rahman,MM et al.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1997;65(1):144-48,
Meydani,SN et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association 1997;277(17):1380-86
[7] Montgomery,SM et al. Gastroenterology 1999;116:796-803
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Abstract Title:
A comparative evaluation of the effects of MMR immunization and mercury doses from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines on the population prevalence of autism.
Abstract Source:

Med Sci Monit. 2004 Mar;10(3):PI33-9. Epub 2004 Mar 1. PMID: 14976450
Abstract Author(s):
David A Geier, Mark R Geier
Article Affiliation:
President, MedCon, Inc, Silver Spring, MD, USA.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of MMR immunization and mercury from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines on the prevalence of autism.
MATERIAL/METHODS: Evaluations of the Biological Surveillance Summaries of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Education datasets, and the CDC's yearly live birth estimates were undertaken
RESULTS: It was determined that there was a close correlation between mercury doses from thimerosal--containing childhood vaccines and the prevalence of autism from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. In contrast, there was a potential correlation between the number of primary pediatric measles-containing vaccines administered and the prevalence of autism during the 1980s. In addition, it was found that there were statistically significant odds ratios for the development of autism following increasing doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines (birth cohorts: 1985 and 1990-1995) in comparison to a baseline measurement (birth cohort: 1984). The contribution of thimerosal from childhood vaccines (>50% effect) was greater than MMR vaccine on the prevalence of autism observed in this study.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study agree with a number of previously published studies. These studies have shown that there is biological plausibility and epidemiological evidence showing a direct relationship between increasing doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, and measles-containing vaccines and serious neurological disorders. It is recommended that thimerosal be removed from all vaccines, and additional research be undertaken to produce a MMR vaccine with an improved safety profile.
Pubmed Data : Med Sci Monit. 2004 Mar;10(3):PI33-9. Epub 2004 Mar 1. PMID: 14976450
Article Published Date : Mar 01, 2004
Study Type : Meta Analysis