Can Vaccines Trigger Autism?
50 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2008
Date Written: August 26, 2008
A link between vaccines and autism is increasingly suspected, because vaccines contain neurotoxins and immune suppressants as well as live viruses that could affect a susceptible population. I investigate the possible link by comparing the proportion of children classified with either autism (AUT) or speech or language impairment (SLI) and the proportion of children who received all recommended vaccines by age two in each U.S. state from 2001 and 2005. I find the higher the proportion of children receiving vaccinations, the higher is the prevalence of children with autism or SLI. I also examine intra-state data for California and Pennsylvania and find a similar association. Finally, I find that states with a greater proportion of completely unvaccinated children also tend to have lower prevalence of autism. The results suggest that autism and speech or language impairments could be side effects of vaccination.
Keywords: Public health, vaccine policy, economics of vaccines, autism
JEL Classification: I10, I12, I18, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation