University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Arthur Caplan debunks the urban legend that vaccines cause autism. To wit:
Recent research on many fronts in medicine and science has nailed the coffin shut on the mercury-in-vaccines-causes-autism hypothesis. The connection is just not there. Perhaps the key fact, which has garnered little attention, is that thimerosal [the mercury containing preservative alleged to cause autism] has been removed from vaccines in this and other countries for many years, with no obvious impact on the incidence of autism…
If there has been a more harmful urban legend circulating in our society than the vaccine-autism link, it is hard to know what it might be. At a time when vaccines may be our last best hope in facing some of the greatest challenges we and our children face, this legend needs to be put to rest. Vaccination, not vaccine-bashing, is what this nation needs.
A point I made a while back here.