- About ASF
- What is Autism?
- How Common is Autism?
- Early Signs of Autism
- Autism Diagnosis
- Following a Diagnosis
- Treatment Options
- Beware of Non Evidence-Based Treatments
- Autism and Vaccines
- Autism Science
- Autism Research Strategic Plan
- Research by Topic
- Research by Year
- Interviews with Scientists
- Science Journals
- Autism In The News
- Recommended Reading
- Participate in Research
- NIH ACE Grants
- NIMH Resources
- Autism Research Glossary
- Quick Facts About Autism
- What We Fund
- ASF Funded Research
- Research Results
- Grant Outcomes Reports
- Apply for a Research Grant
- Apply for a Research Mini-Grant
- Apply for an Undergraduate Summer Research Grant
- Apply for IMFAR Travel Grant
- Get Involved
- 5th Anniversary Celebration
- Contact Us
Autism and Vaccines
On a previous version of this page, the allegations contained in a lawsuit brought by Andrew Wakefield were inadvertently mischaracterized as conclusions of the court. We regret this error.
Beyond the Autism/Vaccine Hypothesis: What Parents Need to Know about Autism Research
A decade ago most researchers agreed that we needed to study vaccines in relation to autism. We had to reconcile the fact that the number of vaccines children were receiving was increasing, and at the same time, the number of children who were being diagnosed with autism also was on the rise. Fortunately this was a question that could be studied – and answered – by science. We looked at children who received vaccines and those who didn’t, or who received them on a different, slower schedule. There was no difference in their neurological outcomes. Multiple studies have been completed which investigated the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination in relation to autism. Researchers have also studied thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, to see if it had any relation to autism. The results of studies are very clear; the data show no relationship between vaccines and autism. Read the studies themselves below and browse our recommended reading list.
Read the Science
Literature Reviews: Autism and Vaccines
On-time Vaccine Receipt in the First Year Does Not Adversely Affect Neuropsychological Outcomes
Smith, M and Woods, C
Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Offit, Paul and Gerber, Jeffrey S.
"Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism"
Institute of Medicine
Too Many Too Soon?
Addressing Parents' Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant's Immune System?
Offit, Paul A., Quarles, Jessica, et al.
Immunization Safety Review: Multiple Immunizations and Immune Dysfunction
Institute of Medicine
Cellular Immune Responses in Neonates
International Reviews of Immunology
Fadel S, Sarazotti M.
Neonatal and Early Life Vaccinology
The Problem with Dr. Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule
Offit, Paul A. and Moser, Charlotte A.
Thimerosal and Autism Studies
Neuropsychological performance 10 years after immunization in infancy with thimerosal-containing vaccines.
Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D'Elia L, Chariotti F, Salmaso S.
Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California's Developmental Services System
Archives of General Psychiatry
Robert Schechter, MD, MSc and Judith K. Grether, PhD
Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
New England Journal of Medicine
Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al.
Lack of Association Between Rh Status, Rh Immune Globulin in Pregnancy and Autism
American Journal of Medical Genetics
Judith H. Miles and T. Nicole Takahashi
Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
Environmental Health Perspectives
Thomas M. Burbacher, PhD
Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
John Heron and Nick Andrews, PhD and Jean Golding, DSc
Neurotoxic Effects of Postnatal Thimerosal Are Mouse Strain Dependent
M Hornig, M
Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Database
Thomas Verstraeten, MD
Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
Journal of the American Medical Association
Anders Hviid, MSc
Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
Kreesten M. Madsen, MD
"Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Paul Stehr-Green, DrPh, MPH
Thimerosal and Autism?
Karen Nelson, MD
Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thiomersal: A descriptive study
Michael Pichichero, MD
Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) Vaccine and Autism Studies
Remembering How to Fight Measles
New York Times
Paul A. Offit, MD
How to Think About the Risk of Autism
New York Times
Sam Wang, Ph.D.
Lack of Association Between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study
Hornig M, Briese T, Buie T, Bauman ML, Lauwers G, et al.
Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Archives of Disease in Childhood
Gillian Baird, F.R.C.Paed.
Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links With Immunizations
Eric Fombonne, MD
MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study
Liam Smeeth, MRCGP
September 11, 2004
Association of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Kumanan Wilson, MD, MSc, FRCP
Neurologic Disorders After Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination
Annamari Makela, MD
No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism
Eric Fombonne, FRCPsych
Autism and Vaccines in the Media
On January 21st, 2011, Dr. Paul Offit was on The Colbert Report speaking about his new book, "Deadly Choices: How The Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All." Click Here to Watch the Interview.
If we ask the same questions we’ll get the same answers. We’ve asked the autism vaccine question over two dozen times and each time we get the same response; no relationship. We need to move on; We need to invest in studying genetics, the brain structures of children with autism, and environmental factors that may be playing a role.
Below are three fact-sheets prepared by physicians at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. They are excellent resources to distribute at events.
- Vaccines and Autism: What You Should Know
- The Facts about Childhood Vaccines
- Vaccine Ingredients: What You Should Know
Below are two tables prepared by the initiative Every Child By Two. These tables summarize the major procedures and conclusions of the most recent studies regarding autism and Thimerosal, as well as autism and the MMR vaccine.