Some health websites have misrepresented the fine print on an old vaccine label to falsely claim that the "FDA announced that vaccines are causing autism." Vaccines do not cause autism and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not make any new statement this week about the long-debunked claim.
Autism was listed as one of many "adverse events" on the 2005 label of Sanofi Pasteur's Tripedia childhood vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. When the vaccine was first approved, such reports were generated voluntarily by consumers and were automatically added to the FDA label, even if there was no plausible connection to the product.
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The 2005 label notes that such reports do not "establish a causal relationship" to the vaccine. Since then, the FDA has changed its labeling rules and now only includes adverse events "for which there is some basis to believe there is a causal relationship," the agency said in a statement.
Sanofi Pasteur stopped making the vaccine years ago, and its last shipment of it was in 2012.
Medical researchers have debunked claims that vaccines given to children can lead to autism and developmental disorders. A study that drew a connection between autism and vaccines was found faulty and retracted in 2010.
The National Academy of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, says vaccines are not free from adverse effects, "but most are very rare or very mild."
This is part of The Associated Press' ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
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