Inaccurate: The link between vaccines and autism has already been disproved in several studies.
FULL CLAIM: When you give an injection like a vaccine, it explodes inside like a cluster bomb. All these diseases (diabetes, cancer, thyroid issues, etc.) use [sic] to be rare. Autism use [sic] to be 1 in 10,000. Now it’s 1 in 50. Now, where is it all coming from? Vaccines are doing it.
This blog article, published in June 2019, has been shared more than 24,000 times and went viral on Facebook in October 2019. The article contains numerous claims about vaccines, purportedly made by many physicians. The very first claim, found in the meme at the top of the page, is made by Dr. Shiv Chopra: “When you give an injection like a vaccine, it explodes inside like a cluster bomb. All these diseases (diabetes, cancer, thyroid issues, etc.) use [sic] to be rare. Autism use [sic] to be 1 in 10,000. Now it’s 1 in 50. Now, where is it all coming from? Vaccines are doing it.” This claim has also been propagated in various forms in other outlets such as GlobalResearch and the National Vaccine Information Center.
The claim appears to be a paraphrase of a quote from a speech by Chopra in 2013. He cited no study to support the claim that vaccines are behind the increased incidences of diabetes, cancer, autism etc. The basis of the claim appears to be that, because these increased incidences of diseases occurred after vaccination uptake was increased, vaccines must be the cause (the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy).
CDC data does indicate a general upward trend in the incidence of autism over time, but due consideration should also be given to other changes that have occurred over the past few decades, such as an increased awareness of the condition by clinicians, as well as changes in the way autism is diagnosed. The fact is that numerous studies all over the world have shown no link between vaccines and autism[1,2,3,4,5,6], with the latest one just published in 2019, which examined more than 600,000 children and again found no link.)
We also contacted the Vaccine Education Center of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to comment on the scientific accuracy of Chopra’s claim. The center is a member of the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Safety Net, part of an initiative to enable Internet users to find accurate and reliable information about vaccines.
In their reply, the center stated that:
“Abundant evidence exists that disproves the notion that vaccines increase the risk of chronic disorders like autism, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and others.”
The center’s statement is supported by its library of studies examining the health effects of vaccination, including the incidence of diabetes and autism after vaccination. These studies have found no increased risk in vaccinated children. The basis for a link between thyroid problems and vaccines is not clear, but may stem from a 2011 review by Shoenfeld et al. which proposed a condition termed “autoimmune/autoinflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA)”, which was refuted by a later review of earlier studies.
This article by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute states that there is no link between vaccines and an increased risk of cancer, and that vaccines can actually protect people from developing certain cancers (the HPV vaccine springs to mind).
In short, a wide body of medical literature refutes Chopra’s claim that vaccines cause diabetes, cancer, autism and other diseases.
- 1 – Hviid et al. (2019). Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccination and Autism: A Nationwide Cohort Study. Annals of Internal Medicine.
- 2 – Taylor et al. (2014). Vaccines are not associated with autism: an evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies. Vaccine.
- 3 – Mrozek-Budzyn et al. (2012). Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.
- 4 – Uno et al. (2012). The combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines and the total number of vaccines are not associated with development of autism spectrum disorder: the first case-control study in Asia. Vaccine.
- 5 – Fombonne et al. (2006). Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: prevalence and links with immunizations. Pediatrics.
- 6 – Honda et al. (2005). No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
- 7 – Shoenfeld and Agmon-Levin (2011). ‘ASIA’ – Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants. Journal of Autoimmunity.
- 8 – Ameratunga et al. (2017). Evidence Refuting the Existence of Autoimmune/Autoinflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA). Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.