The US's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been unable to produce any scientific studies that support the claims, which have been included on its website and in leaflets to parents.
The admission follows a Freedom of Information request lodged by the vaccination campaign group, Informed Consent Action Network (Ican), which had asked the CDC to produce all the studies it relied on to claim that the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, or whooping cough) vaccine does not cause autism. In a separate suit, Ican also asked for evidence for similar claims about the HepB (hepatitis), Hib (haemophilus influenzae), PCV13 (pneumococcal) and IPV (polio) vaccines, and for studies that showed the cumulative effects of all the vaccines in a child's first six months didn't lead to autism. Ican left out the MMR—the vaccine at the forefront of the autism controversy—from its requests.
Ican lodged the request in the summer of 2019 and sued the CDC after it had failed to produce a single scientific paper in over six months. In a New York district court hearing, the CDC was forced to concede it could not produce any evidence that the other childhood vaccines—other than the MMR—don't cause autism.
In responding to Ican's request, it had produced 21 scientific papers, but they either related to the MMR, or to vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal, which none in Ican's request include. An Institute of Medicine review, also submitted to the court, could not establish that the DTaP vaccine didn't cause autism, even though the study had been paid for by the CDC.
Ican's Del Bigtree, a TV producer, commented: "If the CDC had spent the same resources studying vaccines and autism, as it did waging a media campaign against parents that claim vaccines caused their child's autism, the world would be a better place for everyone."
Bigtree produced the movie Vaxxed, which featured the work of Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor who was one of the first to claim an association between autism and the MMR.