A website providing information on childhood immunisation for parents has been told by the Advertising Standards Authority to take down a report that the MMR vaccine is linked to causes of autism, reports the Telegraph.
Babyjabs.co.uk posted information that said the vaccine “could be causing autism in up to 10% of autistic children in the UK”.
The website’s medical director, Dr Richard Halvorsen, claims in a book The Truth About Vaccines that research “has been unable to exclude the possibility that [MMR] is causing autism in a small number of susceptible children”.
Panic over the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine began in 1998 when Dr Andrew Wakefield published a paper in medical journal The Lancet linking the jab to autism. In some areas, the number of children being immunised fell to below 50%.
Dr Wakefield’s research has since been discredited and withdrawn from the journal and the position held by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health is that there is no evidence of a causal association between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Government advisers warned this week that England is facing a massive increase in cases of mumps as children who weren’t given the MMR vaccine start University.
Cases of mumps have been low for a decade but immunity to the disease could fall to 60% after 15 years.
Before vaccination was introduced, there were 1,200 cases of mumps a year in the UK.