The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (aka german measles). It was introduced in the 1970s to replace the three separate vaccinations previously the norm to protect against these diseases.
It’s effectiveness is not in question. There are, however, claims that it may play a causal role in the development of autism in children
The original claim of a link between the MMR vaccination and autism was made in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield in an ‘iffy’ piece of research – later discredited
Wakefield’s research was found by the General Medical Council to have been “dishonest”, and The Lancet fully retracted the original paper. The research was declared fraudulent in 2011 by the British Medical Journal. Several subsequent peer-reviewed studies have failed to show any association between the vaccine and autism. (Wikipedia)
Despite Wakefield’s ‘evidence’ being discredited, many parents (and some doctors too) still believe that the MMR vaccination plays a causal role in the development of autism. Both sides in the debate point to studies that support their own position
Those who believe there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism will be encouraged in this belief by a recent court ruling in Italy, in which a family were awarded financial compensation by a judge after the Italian Health Ministry ruled that their child’s autism was the result of an MMR injection
This ruling may well re-ignite the argument between supporters and opponents of the MMR vaccine