(CNN) The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine does not increase the risk of autism and does not trigger autism in children who are at risk, according to a new study of over 650,000 children.
Researchers used a population registry to evaluate whether the MMR vaccine increased the risk of autism in children born in Denmark between 1999 and 2010.
A total of 657,461 children were followed through August 2013, with the researchers documenting diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder as well as known risk factors including age of the parents, diagnosis of autism in a sibling, preterm birth and low weight at birth.
Over 95% of the children received the MMR vaccine, and 6,517 were diagnosed with autism.
The MMR vaccine did not increase the risk of autism in children who were not considered at risk for the disorder and did not trigger it in those who were, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
"This idea that vaccines cause autism is still around and is still getting a lot of exposure in social media," noted Anders Hviid, lead study author and senior investigator at Statens Serum Institut in Denmark.
With anti-vaccine groups becoming more vocal and even celebrities and politicians spreading fear of vaccines, Hviid and his team wanted to provide solid scientific answers. »