COVID-19 vaccine opponents promote the myth that vaccines cause autism

Several popular vaccine opponents are repeating the old myth that COVID-19 vaccines and other routine immunizations are linked to autism, citing rising autism diagnoses since the 1970s. Many of the posts blame the addition of new vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, to the childhood immunization schedule. Others claim that there is a conspiracy to silence doctors who speak about the debunked link between vaccines and autism. 

Recommendation: Trending conversations linking COVID-19 vaccines to autism provide an opportunity to recirculate existing content and materials that prebunk and debunk these claims. Messaging may emphasize that according to decades of research, there is no link between autism and any vaccine. Vaccinated and unvaccinated children are diagnosed with autism at the same rates. Improved diagnoses have been the primary reason for rising autism rates since the 1970s. Research claiming that vaccines cause autism has long been discredited and retracted. Continuing to reiterate that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and protect adults and children from severe illness, hospitalization, death, and long COVID is recommended.