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Vaccine. 2003 Dec 8;22(1):1-6.

Communicating science to the public: MMR vaccine and autism.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 34th St. and Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Media attention and consequent public concerns about vaccine safety followed publication of a small case-series of children who developed autism after receipt of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Many well-controlled studies performed subsequently found no evidence that MMR vaccine causes autism. However, despite these studies, some parents remain concerned that the MMR vaccine is not safe. We will discuss the origins of the hypothesis that the MMR vaccine causes autism, studies performed to test the hypothesis, how these studies have been communicated to the public, and some suggested strategies for how this communication can be improved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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