Another day, another study asserting that vaccines don't cause autism: This time, researchers analyzed 67 different studies and found no evidence that immunizations cause autism. "There is a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines," a co-author tells USA Today. "With the rise of the Internet and the decline of print journalism, anyone can put anything on the Internet." The new report finds "strong evidence" that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, implicated in an increased risk of autism in a since-retracted 1998 study, is not associated with such a risk.
The study also found no proof vaccines cause childhood leukemia, the AP reports, and that in general, side effects from vaccines are "extremely rare." While some vaccines, including the MMR vaccine and the flu shot, can cause an increased risk of fever-related seizures in small children, those seizures are typically benign. The most serious side effects (an intestinal blockage caused by the rotavirus vaccine and a blood disorder linked to the chickenpox and MMR vaccines) are both rare, NBC News reports. Ultimately, the study concludes, the benefits of vaccines outweigh the small risks. And, to put those risks in perspective, one expert notes, "The most dangerous aspect of giving your child vaccines is driving to the office to get them."