After years of research having found no association between the measles vaccine and autism, there is still a movement against vaccination and thousands of children are not vaccinated against serious conditions such as the measles. A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association finds, once again, no link between the vaccine and autism. The study focuses on insurance claims of more than 95,000 children. Some of these children had a sibling with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

A team of the healthcare consulting firm The Lewin Group, led by Anjali Jain, in Virginia, focused on 95,727 children with older siblings. Of these children just over 1% had ASD and 2% have older sibling(s) with ASD. According to Jain, "there are 134 children with autism whose siblings also have autism. Children with older siblings who have autism are thought to have na increased risk themselves.". This fact may lead to parents being especially wary of vaccinations. For these reason, Jain tells, is importante to look at these younger siblings. So, the team looked at MMR vaccination rates and found that 84% of the children without ASD siblings are vaccinated by age 2 and 92% by age 5. On the other hand, for children with siblings with ASD only 73% were vaccinated by age 2 and 86% were vaccinated by age 5.

In America, there are 162 measles cases this year and almost 3/4 of these are linked to the Disneyland outbreak. Most of the people were unvaccinated. On the other side of the pond, in Britain, experts fear an outbreak if children continue to not be vaccinated. According to the Daily Mail, over the last five years the number of children being immunised has fallen from 92% to 87%. A similar fall in the numbers of children being vaccinated led to an outbreak of measles in Ireland last year. The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) warned that parents' refusal to get children vaccinated could lead to an epidemic. Dr. Trevor Jones, director-general of the ABPI, said: "The development of modern vaccines has been one of the greatest successes of medical science, with many diseases effectively eradicated in Britain. It is vital that we do not squander the position we have reached."

The MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella) is recommended by the World Health Organization as the best way to protect children against measles, also the CDC recommends two doses for all children. These two doses are 97% effective.

The researchers also measured and compared the relative risk of ASD for the 95,727 children on the study at age 2 and then again at age 5. Also, for no vaccine agains 1 or 2 doses of the vaccine. Their conclusion was that receiving the MMR vaccine did not increase the children's risk of ASD, even having or not an older sibling with an ASD. #Society