Vaccinations of US Children Declined After Publication of Now-Refuted Autism Risk
New University of Cincinnati research has found that fewer parents in the United States vaccinated their children in the wake of concerns about a purported link (now widely discredited) between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism.
Lenisa Chang, assistant professor of economics in UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business, found that the MMR-autism controversy, which played out prominently in the popular media following publication in a 1998 medical journal, led to a decline of about two percentage points in terms of parents obtaining the MMR vaccine for their children in 1999 and 2000. And even after later studies thoroughly refuted the alleged MMR-autism link, the drop off in vaccination rates persisted.
For her study, "The MMR-Autism Controversy: Did Autism Concerns Affect Vaccine Take Up?" to be presented during the 4th Biennial Conference of the American Society of Health Economics June 10-13 in Minnesota, Chang examined data from the National Immunization Survey from 1995 through 2006 to gauge parents’ response toward the vaccine-autism controversy.
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