At the end of the 1990s, concerns about the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and thimerosal-containing vaccines as possible causes of autism and other neuro-developmental disorders were raised. Various careful designed studies have been undertaken (particularly in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States) to evaluate if there is any evidence for an association between MMR and thimero-sal-containing vaccines and neuro-developmental disorders, particularly autism. Recently, two major independent vaccine safety committees (the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine, US National Academy of Sciences; and the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety) examined the hypotheses. The main conclusions of the committees are as follows: the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism as well as a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and neuro-developmental disorders including autism. However, in response to the controversy over the safety of thimerosal, various manufacturers developed thimerosal-free versions of vaccines, particularly childhood vaccines; they are now licensed in many countries worldwide [5, 7-12].
Was this article helpful?
Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.