Updated 5.55pm - Added Superintendent of Public Health statement

The Sunday Times of Malta has retracted an article that appeared in its last edition, titled 'MMR vaccine and autism -- the movie 'they don't want you to see'.

The article, by Kathryn Borg, was about a new film by Andrew Wakefield, who claims the existence of a link between the vaccine and the medical condition.

Editor Mark Wood acknowledged it was a mistake to publish the article given the weight of scientific evidence debunking Wakefield's claims and firmly favouring use of the vaccine.

Next Sunday the paper will publish a comprehensive article presenting an expert medical view on the issue, ensuring readers get both sides of the story.

'There is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism'

In a statement, the Superintendent of Public Health said the article in question had no scientific basis and noted that Mr Wakefield, who first claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, had been struck off the UK medical register and had his research paper retracted by medical journal The Lancet. 

"There is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism," the Superintendent for Public Health said. "This has been proven by dozens of scientific papers in medical journals."

Studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal, the Journal of Paediatric Disease the Journal of Developmental Paediatrics and the Journal of the American Medical Association had all failed to establish a link between the two, the statement noted. 

According to the World Health Organisation, measles is the leading cause of death among children, killing 134,200 in 2015 alone. Increased vaccination rates nevertheless led to a 79 per cent drop in measles deaths worldwide between 2010 and 2015. 

"Vaccines are safe and effective in reducing the risks of serious infectious diseases, and are highly recommended by all the world scientific bodies," the public health body added. 

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