14. Vaccines cause autism

Vaccines do not cause autism. We repeat: Vaccines do not cause autism.

It’s true that autism rates have been rising steadily over the past few decades, but that increase is due to the fact that we now have a better understanding of the autism spectrum and therefore are better at diagnosing the condition. In the past, autism was not well understood so it was vastly underdiagnosed. Scientists, physicians, and public health researchers have extensively studied the possible link between autism and vaccines and the vast majority have determined there is no association between vaccines and autism. Autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors; it is not caused by vaccines.

So-called anti-vaxxers believe vaccines cause autism despite the conclusive scientific and medical evidence to the contrary. The dangerous and misguided anti-vaccination movement has caused the resurgence of infectious diseases like the measles.

Choosing not to vaccinate your child will not protect him or her from autism; it will only put him at risk for dangerous, preventable diseases like measles and the mumps, which are highly contagious and could be fatal. Choosing not to vaccinate your child also puts any other child at risk who comes into contact with them.