When a measles outbreak struck Columbus, Ohio, late last year, public health officials learned the overwhelming majority of cases — 80 of 85 — were among unvaccinated children.
Investigators from Columbus Public Health went to speak to parents to ask them why they hadn’t vaccinated their children with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) shot or why they were delaying vaccination. What they found was surprising.
“What our team heard from many parents is that they weren’t necessarily against vaccines and their children had other age-appropriate vaccines, but they were specifically putting off the MMR vaccine or waiting as long as they could before they had to get it because of fears it could lead to autism,” Kelli Newman, director of public affairs & communications for Columbus Public Health, told ABC News.
What Newman is referencing is a myth that was born out of a now-debunked paper from the U.K. in 1998, which allegedly found that MMR vaccines cause autism.