It's been nearly twenty years since medical researcher Andrew Wakefield destroyed his career by publishing a fraudulent research paper linking the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine to autism. The doctor's claims have endangered children around the world and confused parents trying to make the right health choices for their children. To set the record straight, here's all the evidence that proves vaccines cause autism.

In 1998, Wakefield wrote a paper claiming he had found a link between autism and gastrointestinal problems. The paper did not find a link between vaccines and autism, but in a subsequent press conference, Wakefield said he thought the MMR vaccines should be given individually, and not as a set. Wakefield worried that the MMR vaccine could hurt a child's immune system and allow the measles virus to invade the intestines. Proteins that leak from the intestines could reach neurons in the brain, he wrote, affecting brain function.

Dozens of studies since have refuted Wakefield's claims. One study, which examined close to 100,000 children. The study found absolutely no link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Even as scientists denounced the paper, media interest in Wakefield's study exploded and several journalists reported his theories as fact, failing to scrutinize the study or corroborate it with expert opinions.

The consequences of this spread of misinformation have been grave. Thousands of parents around the world have refused to vaccinate their children. This has resuscitated diseases that had long been irradiated in the United States. In misguided attempt to protect their children, anti-vaxination parents have put us all in danger.

So here it is: The actual truth.

1. The research claiming links between Autism and MMR was fraudulent


Not only was Wakefield's paper inconclusive, it was later revealed that he tweaked timelines and manipulated data to show increase links between the vaccine and did not disclose that lawyers mounting a case against vaccine manufacturers financed his research. In fact, the parents quoted in Wakefield's paper were also litigants. Immediately following these revelations, 10 of the 12 co-authors of the paper retracted its conclusion.

But that did not stop thousands of parents from standing in the way of their children being vaccinated.

2. Not vaccinating your kids puts everyone in danger

These anti-vaxxers' actions have serious health consequences for kids everywhere.

The anti-vaccine movement caused the worst measles outbreak in 20 years, according to a 2015 Center for Disease Control report. The United States erradicated Measles in 2000 and Whooping Cough in 1976, but have now made a comeback.

3. Natural immunity won't protect your kids

TO GO WITH FEATURE STORY BY MARTHE BOSUANDOLE Naomi Matali and her son Wilner, an eight year old child that suffers from malaria, play together at Ngaliema Clinic in Kinshasa on April 14, 2016. Have school classes at hospitals of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a county where a major part of the population still struggles to study or to be taken care of, is the dream of Naomi Kuseyo, founder of the 'heart's schools' which one of the first is located in the Ngaliema Clinic. The President of the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Naomi, Naomi Kuseyo Colin is 22 years old and lives with several handicaps due to a rare sickness caused by a deficiency of growth hormones. / AFP / EDUARDO SOTERAS (Photo credit should read EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Some anti-vaxxers think their kids are born equipped to fight these diseases. But in fact, 90 percent of vaccinated kids exposed to measles get infected. Vaccines were game changers. Generations ago, kids did not stand a fighting chance against illnesses like polio. Give your kids the tools they need to protect themselves.

4. Vaccines are safe and effective

A Pakistani health worker administers polio drops to a child during a polio vaccination campaign in Quetta on April 26, 2016. Islamist outfits including the Pakistani Taliban say the polio vaccination drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims. / AFP / BANARAS KHAN (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Vaccines available for kids go through a lengthy review process by researchers and doctors. The momentary pain and side effects of vaccines are nothing compared to their disease fighting benefits.

5. Vaccines save you money

AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A students smiles after receiving anti-dengue vaccine at Parang Elementary School in Marikina, west of Manila on April 4, 2016. The Philippines began injecting up to one million school children with the world's first vaccine for dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral infection that is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Vaccines are an investment in your family's health and financial future. Diseases like measles, mumps and rubella can take a steep financial toll on a family. A sick child can rack up significant medical bills, force parents to take time off work and pull kids from school.

The evidence is clear. There is no link between Autism and vaccines.