New MMR Research Rules out Autism Link

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Byline: ZOE MORRIS

A LONDON clinic has more than 14,000 children on a waiting list to receive single measles, mumps and rubella jabs, despite new assurances that the combined MMR vaccine is safe.

Research published today concludes there is no link between the MMR jab and autism.

The suggestion of a link was first made by Royal Free consultant Dr Andrew Wakefield, following a study of 12 children in 1998. Medical opinion has been divided ever since.

The latest research, published in the journal Vaccine, concluded there is "no causal link" between the jab and the onset of autism after studying the diagnosis of the disorder in 357 children.

Researchers found no pattern in the time autism was diagnosed which could be linked to receiving the jab.

Professor Brent Taylor, consultant in community child health at Royal Free hospital and University College Medical School, said: "It is difficult to prove a negative. We cannot say it is impossible for there to be an occurrence of a child having an adverse reaction to MMR which might manifest itself as an autistic disorder."

However, he emphasised: "What we can say is there is no evidence that MMR causes autism and that has been shown by four other studies."

Liz Miller, co-author of the study and head of the immunisation division at Public Health Laboratory Service, said: "This evidence further strengthens confidence in the safety of the vaccine." Dr David Elliman, consultant community paediatrician and chairman of the London Consortium of Immunisation Co-ordinators said: "It is difficult to understand how, in the face of overwhelming evidence, anyone can believe there is a connection between MMR and autism. …