Many autism caregivers wrongly believe vaccines caused disorder, study shows

One in six caregivers looking after a child with autism mistakenly believe that vaccinations could be a cause of the child's autism, according to a study published in the journal Vaccine.

Researchers examined data from 16,525 participants with autism spectrum disorder who were younger than 18 years. They gathered the data from from SPARK, a national research cohort started in 2016. During registration to become part of the study, caregivers completed questionnaires that included questions on beliefs about the role of childhood immunizations and other factors in causing autism.

They found that 16.5 percent of caregivers said that they believed vaccinations were a cause of autism.

The caregivers who believed vaccinations played a role in causing autism primarily came from less educated and less wealthy backgrounds, compared to caregivers who did not link vaccinations to autism. The caregivers who linked the two also tended to be ethnic minorities.

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