Out of curiosity, I ran some numbers on vaccinations.
Let's be very generous. Let's posit that this utterly unsubstantiated and implausible link between autism and vaccination exists.
What's the rate of incidence? There's 6 in 1,000 people that have some sort of autism spectrum disorder. 2 in 1,000 have true autism. We'll work with that number. Let's assume that every member of this 0.2% is properly diagnosed and the disease was caused by a vaccination.
I repeat: these assumptions are very generous. Even if vaccines did cause autism (they don't), we know that there are other causes as well. These are very generous assumptions to make.
Now, let's look an measles. In an vaccinated person in a developed country, 3 in 1,000 people die- 0.3% fatality rate. In underdeveloped nations, it's closer to 280 per thousand. In immunocompromised patients, like AIDS victims or cancer patients, it's in the same neighborhood- about 300 in 1,000.
And that's just measles. And that's just deaths- we're not counting complications like corneal scarring- yes, measles can blind you.
So, even if we grant the most generous possible claims made by the anti-vaxxers, their arguments don't stand up. Measles, alone, is a more credible threat than vaccine induced autism, even if every autism case was caused by a vaccine. Even if we take the absurd claims at face value, the argument doesn't hold up.
Oh, let's keep going. Whooping cough kills 600,000 people a year of the 10-90 million it infects. Why the big range? It occurs mostly in third world countries where it's hard to get good statistics. Let's pick in the middle- say, 60 million cases. That's a 1% fatality rate. Heck, even if we go out to 90 million, we're still looking at a 0.6% fatality rate- which is the same rate of autism spectrum disorder in the population.
Between measles and whooping cough, we're talking a 0.9% fatality rate. Wanna start adding diseases? Polio isn't extinct, you know.
Ignoring the non-existent autism link, there are real risks to vaccines. The CDC has some data, but it should be perfectly clear: vaccines are less dangerous than the disease they prevent.