Huntsville pediatricians, CDC say autism not linked to measles vaccine

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – As the measles outbreak continues to grow in the United States, some parents refuse to vaccinate their children because they fear the measles vaccine causes autism. The CDC says there is no correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism, and Huntsville pediatrician Dr. Tim Stewart agrees.

Stewart is the immunization coordinator for the Alabama chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and also practices at Huntsville Pediatric Associates.

"The American Academy of Family Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatrics, the President... everyone is asking that everyone go ahead and be immunized," said Dr. Stewart.

Dr. Stewart says fear that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism is unwarranted.

"There is no connection between autism and  the measles vaccine, there is no connection," said Dr. Stewart.

Dr. Stewart says the misdiagnosis came from Dr. Andrew Wakefield, whose theory has since been disproven and led to the doctor losing  his medical license.

"The things that autism is connected to are genetics, paternal age... if the dad's older there's an increased chance, it's a genetics problem," said Dr. Stewart.

Dr. Stewart stresses measles is one of the most contagious diseases and the vaccine is a matter of life and death.  He wants parents to know they can talk to their pediatricians if they have concerns.

"We have an open invitation to talk to any parent that wants to talk about vaccines, we'll meet with them and go over their concerns," said Dr. Stewart.

For more resources about autism, visit The Madison Behavior Therapy website.

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