My child didn’t get autism from a vaccine

A Glanmire mum, Nicole Duggan, whose son Riley has autism, has spoken out about vaccinations in light of the recent measles outbreak across Europe and Ireland, and has called on people to vaccinate their children
My child didn’t get autism from a vaccine
Riley and his mum, Nicole Duggan of My Boy Blue Glanmire. Picture: Gerard McCarthy

I HAVE read so many headlines about measles outbreaks in Ireland. These outbreaks are happening due to people failing to get vaccinations.

Vaccines are something I don’t really talk about because it is SUCH a touchy subject. A subject that gets really nasty. But you know what, as an autism mom I wanted to speak about it.

Often, when a discussion comes up about vaccines, people will bring up autism. Twenty years ago, a doctor called Andrew Wakefield released a study purporting to show a link between autism and vaccines. It was released in the press and it spread like wildfire. People finally had something to blame.

What a lot of people fail to realise is that Wakefield’s study was revoked. It was based on false evidence, lies, and the whole thing was made up. Wakefield was STRUCK OFF as a medical professional.

Twenty years, later this fake study haunts autism parents. I have received so many messages from ‘anti-vaxxers’ asking me has Riley gotten his vaccinations. Telling me I gave my child autism by vaccinating him. Horrible comments based on lies.

So many parents do not vaccinate their children because of people like Wakefield. So many parents leave their child open to illnesses like measles.

So many parents leave their children unvaccinated, putting other kids, who for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated or are immunocomprimised, in danger.

Not only are you putting your child in danger, you are putting others in danger too.

My child was born with autism and I wouldn’t change him for the world. He may not be able to speak, he may find the world to be a hard place sometimes, he may find things hard to cope with and have anxiety at four years of age. But he did not get autism from a vaccine.

Would I vaccinate him again? Yes. If I was to have another child would I vaccinate them? 100 per cent. Please do not let false studies, lies and scare mongering be the reason you put other children in danger. The reason you put your child in danger.

Autism was always going to be part of our lives. We couldn’t prevent that. We can, however, prevent these awful illnesses.

This article was posted first on Nicole’s Facebook page, at My Boy Blue



Measles outbreaks are occurring in a number of European countries including Romania, France, Greece and Italy. To date in 2018, over 41,000 cases and 37 death from measles have been reported in EU countries.

Measles cases continue to occur in Ireland. Since January 2018 there have been over 67 cases of measles diagnosed.

The HSE are aware of a number of cases of measles in adults and children in Dublin. The Department of Public Health East have issued the following information and advice:


Measles is a highly infectious virus. The main features are fever, cough, red and painful eyes, and a rash. It can cause severe disease resulting in complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis and occasionally death. Although it is most common in young children, it can affect anyone at any age.

Vaccination with MMR vaccine is the only way to protect against measles.

Two doses of MMR vaccine are required to give the best protection. In Ireland, the first dose is given at 12 months by GPs and the second dose is given to Junior Infants in school by HSE vaccination teams or by GPs in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim.

What should young adults and parents do?

Make sure you or your children are up to date with your MMR vaccines. Please go to your GP for MMR vaccination if: you have not had 2 doses of MMR vaccine you have a preschool or primary school child who never had MMR vaccine you have a primary school child who missed out on the 2nd dose you are not sure if your child has had 2 doses of MMR vaccine.

What about children under 12 months of age?

There is no change to the routine recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC): MMR vaccine is recommended at 12 months and at four to five years of age.

However, MMR vaccine is recommended for children aged six to 11 months of age, travelling to other countries or regions where measles outbreaks are reported.

In most cases the MMR vaccine provides protection after 14 days.

The vaccine is available to healthcare professionals to order free of charge through the National Cold Chain Service.

NOTE: If MMR vaccine is given before 12 months of age, this dose is not counted as part of the childhood vaccination programme. MMR vaccine should be repeated at 12 months of age, at least one month after the first vaccine with a further dose at four to five years of age.

What about children under 6 months of age?

The MMR vaccine is not recommended before the age of six months for infants travelling to areas where there is a measles outbreak. The vaccine is not effective if given before that age.

Travelling abroad?

All individuals travelling to Europe and other regions experiencing measles outbreaks or where measles cases continue to occur should ensure they receive the MMR vaccine if needed.

What about Health Care Workers?

Health Care Workers (HCWs) in Ireland should have 2 doses of MMR vaccine. Two of the cases in recent outbreaks in Ireland were HCWs.

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