False: Immunization vaccines cause autism in babies.

By: Rahul Adhikari
March 3 2023

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False: Immunization vaccines cause autism in babies.


The Verdict False

Studies show childhood immunization is safe to administer and low amounts of aluminum in some vaccines can not cause autism.

Claim ID c765943c


A video of a Connecticut General Assembly - Public Health Committee public hearing has been circulating on social media claiming childhood immunization vaccines cause autism in newborn babies. In the video, Dr. Larry Palevsky, one of the speakers, discusses the usage of aluminum in vaccines and its effect on the human brain, stressing that it could likely cause neurological diseases and developmental disorders. The caption of the viral post reads, "Just a reminder that babies are NOT born autistic they are made autistic by childhood immunization vaccines." The post has received over 2k views and nearly 100 likes.

In Fact

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines do not cause Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Several studies have shown that there is no relation between vaccines and the development of autism. According to the CDC, a review of the safety of eight vaccines carried out by the National Academy of Medicines proves that vaccines are safe to use, with rare exceptions. A 2013 study by the CDC has shown that antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides used in vaccines do not increase the risk of autism. The study compared the level of antigens from vaccines received in children with ASD and those who do not have ASD and found that they are the same. The website also says that since 2003, the CDC has funded or conducted studies that have found no link between vaccines containing thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) and ASD.

The National Health Service (NHS) U.K. stated that childhood vaccines such as the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) jab are safe and important and undergo rigorous testing before being administered to children. Further, they are constantly monitored for side effects.

Autism begins before the age of three and may be detected as early as within the first 12 or 18 months or even at 24 months, according to the CDC. It can be caused by a genetic condition, while for others, it can be environmental or biological factors. In some cases, the reason behind this disease is unknown. The risk factors of the disease listed by the CDC are - (i) having a sibling with ASD, (ii) having certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, (iii) Experiencing complications at birth, and (iv) being born to older parents. Studies are underway to ascertain the exact risk factors and behaviors associated with ASD.

It is true that aluminum salts are used in some vaccine formulations as adjuvants, which help the body produce a stronger immune response. Vaccines containing aluminum adjuvants have been used since the 1930s in the U.S. and have also demonstrated their safety. The CDC and the FDA also continue to monitor such vaccines once approved. Aluminum salts also occur in drinking water, infant formula, and some health products such as antacids, buffered aspirin, and antiperspirants. While adjuvanted vaccines can cause more local and systemic reactions, they have been proven to be safe and not associated with autism.

Further, in 2012, the World Health Organization's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) reviewed two published papers that alleged aluminum in vaccines is associated with ASD. The committee concluded that the studies were "seriously" flawed, made incorrect assumptions about known associations of aluminum with neurological disease, and had other issues, such as uncertainty about the ASD prevalence rates in countries and aluminum doses in different countries based on vaccination schedules. 

According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the aluminum contained in vaccines is low and similar to that found in a liter of infant formula.

Abraham Al-Ahmad, Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center told Health Feedback in 2020, "This statement is of very low scientific credibility, inaccurate, and involves flawed reasoning."

The Verdict

According to statements and research conducted by several credible health bodies around the world, vaccines, and autism are not connected. A video of a discussion on vaccines and claims about their effects has been shared with an incorrect caption which is not backed by evidence. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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