The MMR is a single shot vaccine which prevents the onset of deadly diseases that are common during childhood, such as measles, mumps, and rubella.
The first shot of the vaccine is administered during the 12th to 15th month of an infant, and is followed by a booster shot during the 4th to 6th year. (Medline Plus) Several research studies and health care professionals have linked the MMR Vaccine to autism, despite its inclusion in the standard immunizations for infants.
This has raised the interest of other health care professionals and has conducted several studies in order to prove whether the link between MMR vaccines and autism exists. The research studies shall be discussed in the following statements.
The online portal for Evidence-Based Nursing have published several research studies which have proved that the occurrence or autism is not in any way connected to the said vaccine.
The first research study was conducted by Wilson, Mills, Ross, et. al. based on epidemiological evidences, that is a study that concentrates on the total population of those who received MMR vaccination, the rate of occurrence of autism with the increase in populations who receive the vaccine, the correlation between the time of vaccination to the occurrence of autism, and the relationship between certain types of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the vaccine. (Jack, 2004)
For this particular review, several researches were used as sources, such as twelve researches studies from scholarly journals and articles. The study has revealed several evidences that prove there is no relation between MMR vaccines and autism.
First, the risk of autism in children does not vary for vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. Second, the rate of occurrence of ASD is not influenced by the increased rate of populations getting the vaccine. Third, diagnosis for ASD has not increased over time after the vaccination of MMR. Lastly, there is no connection between the MMR vaccine and the occurrence of several types of ASD. (Jack, 2004)
The second research study was funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, National Vaccine Program Office & National Immunization Program, and National Alliance for Autism Research. It was conducted in Denmark with 537,303 children. Half of the total population studied for research purposes were males.
Data were gathered from the Danish National Board of Health, wherein the researchers obtained significant information regarding the participants of the study. The breakdown of the total population of participants was such that 440,655 children were vaccinated, 316 children were diagnosed with autism, and 422 were diagnosed with ASD. However, further study proved that the children who were vaccinated with MMR were not at a higher risk of being diagnosed with autism. (Wright, 2003)
The third research study was funded by the same institutions and researchers in the second research study; however, the focus of the study was to determine whether the combination of three vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines, were connected with the diagnosis of autism.
The participants included in the research study aforementioned were used in this particular research study. Additional information were obtained from the Danish Civil Registration System, Danish National Board of Health, Danish Medical Birth Registry, etc.
The results of the study proved that there is no significant difference in the risk rate of vaccinated and unvaccinated children from being diagnosed with autism, and that the combination of the three vaccines in a single shot was not connected with the occurrence of autism. Both the studies conducted in Denmark may be considered accurate because of the accurate data recorded in the Danish system.
Moreover, because the two studies were conducted on a large population, consisting of both vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the results of the study may be considered precise and that parents should continue immunizing their children with the MMR vaccine. (Tidmarsh, 2003)
These research studies suggest that people, especially members of the nursing practice, should be aware of this fact that there is no known connection between the MMR vaccine and the occurrence of autism. The news that came out about the links between the vaccine and autism caused inquiries, as well as fears, from families who have children vaccinated for MMR.
Moreover, because of these issues, people would hesitate to let their children be immunized from measles, mumps, and rubella, leaving their children at high risk from contracting these deadly diseases.
Members of the nursing practice, as well as health care professionals, should be aware of the facts and figures which disprove previous claims about MMR and autism in order for them to become the stakeholders’ reliable and trusty sources of information. This would encourage families to continue with the immunization process in order to protect their children from being exposed with the dangers of these diseases.
Moreover, the knowledge of these evidences presented should be used by health care professionals in order to publicize the invalidation of rumors about MMR and autism or ASD. In order to strengthen their claim, further research should be conducted including wider population ranges and longer time frames for observations, so as to make sure there are no loopholes from which people may base their worries or fears. The important thing is that reliable health care professionals are able to clarify the misinformed and advocate MMR vaccination.
Stating the possible dangers of measles, mumps, and rubella, and missing the vaccination, would be instrumental in assuring the people that there are no links between MMR vaccinations and autism or ASD.
Medline Plus. (2008). “MMR-Vaccine.” Retrieved April 12, 2008, from National Library of
Medicine. Website: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002026.htm
Jack, S. (2004) “Review: Existing Epidemiological Evidence Does Not Show an Association
Between Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism. Evidence-Based Nursing. 2004 Jan; 7(1): 25. Website: http://www.cinahl.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/cgi-bin/refsvc?jid=1646&accno=2004157790
Tidmarsh, L. (2003). “There is Little Evidence that Combined Vaccination against Measles,
Mumps and Rubella is Associated with Autism.” Evidence-Based Mental Health. 6(2): 62. Website: http://www.cinahl.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/cgi-bin/refsvc?jid=2296&accno=2003085837
Wright, S. (2003). “Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, Vaccine Was Not Associated With Autism in
Children.” Evidence-Based Nursing. 6(3): 89. Website: http://www.cinahl.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/cgi-bin/refsvc?jid=1646&accno=2004050484
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