Immunization Science

Autism and age at first MMR vaccination

The article

Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children With Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta. DeStefano F, Karapurkar Bhasin T, Thompson WW, Yeargin-Allsopp M, and Boyle C. Pediatrics 2004;113: 259-266

measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at a higher risk of developing autism than children vaccinated at a later age?

The study

This study examined the hypothesis that earlier age at vaccination (for example, before the time at which autism starts to develop) might be associated with an increased risk for autism.

Researchers compared the immunization records of 625 children diagnosed with autism with 1824 non-autistic (control) children of the same age, gender, and school in metropolitan Atlanta. They looked for significant differences in the age at the first MMR vaccination between the two groups.

The findings

In general, children in both groups were vaccinated with MMR at the same age. Most children with autism (70.5%) and control children (67.5%) were vaccinated between 12 and 17 months of age. Similar proportions of case and control children had been vaccinated before 18 months or 24 months. Also, no age associations were found for specific subgroups of children with autism.