MMR is one of the most important vaccinations, intended to protect children and especially infants against the three historically infamous diseases – measles, mumps, rubella or German measles. The primary objective of this three-in-one vaccination is to protect children against these diseases at one go, without additional visits to the vaccination centers and less exposure to needles, at the same reducing the period of susceptibleness to these diseases in infant. Like all vaccinations, MMR also has side-effect, most of consist mild fever, possible rash and in rare cases some swelling in the glands. There are however unsubstantiated claims linking MMR with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Reasons ASD disorder are unknown and so speculations abound as to its causes. Much of the controversy in the area arises from a published study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield claiming that MMR vaccination was linked to ASD. Twelve cases were studied, of which in eight cases parents associated the ASD-like behavior difficulties with MMR vaccination. This research was criticized heavily because of its research methodology, where adults’ measures were used to test for result from children, which skewed the results. Despite being later discredited and removed from the medical register, Dr. Wakefield’s report has far reaching effects, intermittent claims are still made that MMR and ASD are linked. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that causes behind ASD are not well known.
Despite the fact that over 20 studies have been conducted to disprove the theory, the controversy still remains, justifying a need for further studies in the area, with repeated ‘results confirming the relationship’. Most of the arguments against the use of MMR vaccine is the feeling that the vaccines should not be clubbed together. Of the three diseases, measles and rubella are said to respectively cause brain damage and birth defects, and there are researchers who believe clubbing the two vaccinations is not safe. However, repeated studies have shown that it is dangerous ‘not’ to give these vaccine together. The present research aims to conclusively establish the safety of MMR vaccines.