Vaccinations took a major setback in the late 1990’s with the publication in The Lancet of a paper written by Andrew Wakefield linking autism to the MMR vaccine. The Lancet have now distanced themselves from the findings, calling the paper a hoax and Andrew Wakefield a fraud. (Also check out the link from Bad Science.)
So it was with a resounding sigh of relief that the National Academy of sciences has concluded within a 667 page report that there is no link between immunisations and autism or other serious medical conditions.
The report does acknowledge that minor complications can occur such as seizures, brain inflammation, feinting and allergies with some vaccines, though stresses that from the 1,000 research studies examined they have found no evidence to link immunisation with the most serious conditions including autism and Type 1 diabetes.
Immunisations, the science, the reporting, the public perceptions, the ethical / moral obligations etc that are discussed on the issue make for excellent classroom debate.