A website offering advice on child immunisation has been ordered to remove claims the MMR vaccine is linked with autism.
Babyjabs.co.uk said the MMR vaccine “could be causing autism in up to 10% of autistic children in the UK - between 300 and 400 children a year.”
It was also claimed “the vaccine strain measles virus has been found in the guts - and brains - of some autistic children; this research supports many parents' beliefs that the MMR vaccine has caused autism in their children.”
Complaints were made that the claims were “misleading and unsubstantiated”.
Babyjabs.co.uk defended the claims, citing research in 2002 – thought to be one of the strongest pieces of evidence that the MMR does not cause autism - in which the lead author said: “We cannot rule out the existence of a susceptible subgroup with an increased risk of autism if vaccinated".
The website also presented findings by Babyjab's Medical Director, Dr Richard Halvorsen in his book The Truth about Vaccines.
He said: "Every year the number of children estimated to develop autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), the broader classification of autism, is about twelve thousand (based on the latest research findings that around 1 in 60 children have ASD). If one in eight hundred MMR vaccinations triggered an autistic disorder, this would result in around twelve hundred children a year in the UK being made autistic by the bundling of the vaccines. This is probably the worst-case scenario. In medical terms this would still be described as an 'uncommon' side-effect of the MMR, but it would actually account for 10% of all autistic children in Britain in a year".
The Advertising Standards Authority concluded the claims made by Babyjabs.co.uk about the link between the MMR vaccine autism were “misleading” as they were “contradicted by general medical opinion” and ordered for them to be removed “in their current form”.
What do you advise parents considering the MMR vaccine who are concerned about a potential link with autism?