STATE COLLEGE – There's been growing discussions and debates about vaccinations and whether they're necessary. A new study says the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine does not increase the risk of autism.
Concerns about a potential link between the MMR vaccine and autism have been around for decades but now a new study released their results after the idea of vaccines causing autism gained some steam.
Researches used a registry of over 650,000 children to evaluate. Monday the Annals of Internal Medicine released their results -- saying the vaccine did not increase risk of autism for children.
With anti-vaccine movements becoming more vocal health officials wanted to provide solid scientific answers.
"We've been able to see through our own experiences, it protects our patients against diseases that are able to be controlled by that," Mount Nittany Health pediatrician Dr. Craig Collison said.
More recently the anti-vaccine movement has gained support and convinced some people and their kids not to get vaccinations but that causes concerns as a once rare disease makes a comeback.
"We have seen very little measles for years and years and years, because we've been vaccinating a large percentage of people," Collison said.
In the state of Pennsylvania although schools require vaccinations -- exceptions can be approved by the state. Meaning a child can skip their vaccines with a doctor’s note.
"Probably 5 to 10 percent of our patients don’t get vaccinated. They don’t have to get an exemption here in the doctor’s office but they just tell us no,” Collison said. “We counsel them and tell them why vaccinations are important but they still decide not to do that."
According to the state's department of health documents, out of the 58 schools reported -- there are 11 medical, 27 religious, and 99 philosophical exemptions last school year. The number of exemptions have increased for exemptions since 2015.
"By giving people the free will to get vaccinated, it puts more people at risk for potentially having an outbreak ... for any of these diseases that we're immunizing,"
According to health officials there have been several studies done in the past but none have found a link between vaccines and autism. Dr. Collison says he plans to continue to encourage vaccinations to his patients.