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MYTH: some vaccines, e.g. MMR are linked with an increased risk of autism

  • Facts: A paper published in The Lancet in February 1998 suggested a link between the triple MMR vaccine and a form of autism called autistic enterocolitis. Following further investigation, the paper was retracted and the findings were dis-credited. The WHO’s GACVS reported that “there is no reason to conclude that a health risk exists because of aluminium-containing vaccines, nor good reason for changing current practice.” 1In June 2012 GACVS concluded that the US FDA risk assessment model of aluminium in vaccines further supports the evidence of safety. 2
  • In many countries, vaccines are losing public confidence. Some vaccine experts have described the problem as a “crisis of public confidence” and a “vaccine backlash”.
  • Public concerns about vaccine safety and vaccine legislations are as old as vaccines themselves but current anti-vaccination groups have new levels of global reach and influence, empowered by the internet and social networking capacities.
  • The success of vaccines in preventing targeted diseases has changed the perception of risk associated with getting the diseases. Since many of the diseases against which we vaccinate are now controlled, people are often unable to recognise the benefits of vaccination, helping to put any safety concerns that arise into the spotlight.
  • This trend poses a serious threat to public health. Today, public and private health practices are working to build and sustain trust with those who accept and support vaccines, while also trying to understand and address the confidence gap.
  • For more information on this subject, please read: Heidi Larson et al. Addressing the vaccine confidence gap. The Lancet 2011; 378 (9790): 526 – 535

References

  1. WHO, Statement from the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety on aluminium containing vaccines. December 2008: http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/aluminium/statement_112002/en/ (accessed December 2013)
  2. WHO, Weekly Epidemiological Review. July 2012: http://www.who.int/wer/2012/wer8730.pdf (accessed December 2013)
  3. Larson H et al. Addressing the vaccine confidence gap. The Lancet 2011; 378 (9790): 526 – 535
  4. Larson H et al. Addressing the vaccine confidence gap. The Lancet 2011; 378 (9790): 526 - 535

Priorix

Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine

Prescribing Information

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