In the light of concern around the continuing activities of anti-vaccine campaigners, including promotion of the film ‘Vaxxed’, we feel it’s important to restate that research has comprehensively shown that there is no link between autism and vaccines.

Autism can have profound effects on someone's life and people understandably have questions about its causes. We still don't fully understand the exact causes of autism, but research to date has shown it involves many complex and interacting factors, including genetics, the environment and the development of the brain.

A significant amount of research has been dedicated to exploring whether there is a link between autism and vaccines, and the results have repeatedly shown there is none. This includes a comprehensive 2014 review of all available studies in this area, using data from more than 1.25 million children. Further, the 1998 study linking the MMR vaccine and autism has been completely discredited and the author was struck off the medical register.

We believe that no further attention or research funding should be unnecessarily directed towards examining a link that has already been so comprehensively discredited. Instead, we should be focusing our efforts on improving the lives of the 700,000 autistic people in the UK and their families.

Autism can present challenges but there are many approaches and forms of support that can help autistic people to live full and happy lives, whether in employment or living as independently as possible and doing the things they love. Each autistic person is different and the key is finding support that works for them.

We would advise anyone looking for support to seek out reliable information before making any decisions about approaches, from trained local professionals, NICE guidance or our own information. For more information, visit the NHS Choices website.