Vaccines Definitely Don’t Cause Autism

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
7 min readJun 23

There is incredibly strong scientific evidence proving that childhood vaccines are safe

I remember the old days, where there were almost no stock photos around of vaccines. How times have changed! Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The argument about vaccines and autism isn’t new. If you’ve been on the internet for long enough, and spent even a fraction of your time talking about vaccination, you will have been faced with someone furiously arguing that childhood vaccines are making people autistic. Thing is, we’ve known for decades that this was not true.

Sadly, the recent attention given to RFK Jr. as a presidential candidate in the United States has caused this long-disproven myth to rear its ugly head yet again. I thought it worth going through some of the data that shows that vaccines don’t cause autism, and what the likely reasons for the increase in autism that we see today actually are.

One of the most solid, replicable, and proven findings in the vaccine space is that there is no connection between childhood immunizations and autism.

The Myth

It’s impossible to talk about the vaccine-autism theory without at least mentioning the background. In the late 80s and early 90s, autism was quickly going from a rare condition that impacted a handful of children to something that was increasingly common across society. People started getting very nervous as the number of autistic children skyrocketed.

We know now that almost all of this increase is basically illusory. What actually happened was a fairly simple change in how autism is diagnosed. In the 1950s and 60s, when the condition was first described, it was called childhood or infantile schizophrenia, and only people who were entirely nonverbal and had extreme cognitive issues met the criteria. However, as the decades moved on, the definition of autism was expanded to include a much broader array of individuals. By the 80s, when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was updated to its third edition, the definition of autism included a much broader array of people. By the early 2000s, this had expanded further with the introduction of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

And this isn’t just conjecture — there’s a huge wealth of evidence showing that most of the increase in autism rates since the 60s is due to changes in how we diagnose the condition. A 2015 study that included