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VACCINATION

Danish study confirms no connection between vaccine and autism

Claims that the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) may be linked to autism have been debunked by a Danish study.

Danish study confirms no connection between vaccine and autism
File photo: SCHNEYDER MENDOZA/Ritzau Scanpix

The research, conducted by research institute SSI, which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, is the second study to dismiss the persistent claims over the vaccine, Ritzau reports.

“Our study is significantly larger than the last one, and we have used more methods of analysis. In all cases, we have concluded that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism,” SSI senior researcher Anders Hviid, who led the study in partnership with Professor Mads Melbye, said.

The claim that MMR vaccines could increase children’s risk of developing autism has existed for 20 years, but researchers in the Danish study said it could be rejected entirely.

“Autism is equally prevalent amongst the children who had received the MMR vaccine and the total of 31,619 children who were not vaccinated. We must therefore conclude that the MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism,” Hviid said.

A total of 657,461 children born between 1999 and 2010 took part in the study, and were monitored from the age of 1 until August 2013. Researchers also drew upon information from several databases, including the Danish Vaccinations Registry (Det Danske Vaccinationsregister) and a record of autism diagnoses.

That means a sample size larger by 100,000 than the previous study, which is from 2002.

Assertions that there was a connection between autism and the MMR vaccine led to an increase in parents choosing not to vaccinate their children against diseases such as measles during the 2000s.

“But we can see that there are now more cases of measles in Europe and the United States, and that is because of opposition to the vaccine,” Hviid said.

Vaccination against measles has since 1987 been part of the Danish health service’s programme of vaccines for children.

The percentage of vaccinated children in Denmark was under 90 percent during the 2000s, but has increased to just over 90 percent since 2012.

READ ALSO: Denmark to invest in vaccination and information

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VACCINE

Danish engineers first to be jabbed under voluntary vaccine scheme

Twenty employees of the Danish engineering firm Lowenco, together with their boss Mikael Hoier, on Sunday became the first people to be given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine under Denmark’s new optional vaccination scheme.

Danish engineers first to be jabbed under voluntary vaccine scheme
Practio co-founder Jonas Nilsen said that the employees had all been given detailed adviuce before they were given the jab. Photo: Practio

The group wanted to get vaccinated so that they can travel to India to install 20 freezers at a vaccine factory.

“It went pretty well, pretty calm and then a little prick,” Hoier, director of Lowenco, told state broadcaster DR.

After undergoing a medical consultation on Saturday, the group were given the green light to get vaccinated on Sunday.

“They all had many questions about potential side effects and the pros and cons of receiving the vaccine,” said Jonas Nilsen, a doctor and co-founder of Practio, which has been given the task of vaccinating Danes under the new optional scheme.

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After thinking over the decision overnight, two of the company’s employees opted against receiving the vaccine. 

“That is absolutely OK by me. It’s a personal decision and it won’t go against them,” Hoier said. 

Practio doctors advised the company to delay their departure to India to the end of this week, so the vaccine has more time to take effect, and they do not suffer complications during their trip.

“There is a chance that someone will be affected by side effects such as headaches, fever and soreness shortly after being injected,” he said.

Sunday’s vaccinations were carried out at Sønderbro Apotek in Copenhagen, and from Monday, vaccinations will be given at Practio’s own vaccine site in Copenhagen, where up to 5,000 people can be vaccinated a day.

The company plans to soon open vaccination centres in Roskilde, Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg. 

On Sunday, Nilsen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that more than 20,000 people in Denmark had already put themselves down on the list for an optional vaccination, and said that his company is capable of treating about 70,000 vaccination patients a day. 

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