Vaccines do not cause autism.

That is the message from Toronto Public Health.

In a recent report, the health organization says parents are being misinformed about crucial vaccinations that protect children and Canadians at large from deadly diseases.

"They are reading misinformation on the internet about vaccines and their side effects, so some of them are starting to choose to delay or refuse vaccination for their children," Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the city's associate medical officer of health and director of communicable disease control told CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Monday.

Required immunizations for Ontario schools or daycare:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella

Health-conscious mom Kelly Holmes says her research on the topic has made her apprehensive.

"The links to autism, and just some of the things that are in the vaccinations themselves, the safety of vaccinations," Holmes said.

Five measles cases in Toronto shut down a daycare in February and sent two children to hospital. The parents of two siblings decided to delay getting the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

"There's a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines," Yaffe said. "It's not based on science. It's not based on evidence and a lot of it is on the internet."

Last year in the United Kingdom, more than 2,000 cases of measles were reported compared to 56 cases in 1998.

"One in 15 cases will end up with serious complications," Yaffe warned.

Measles, mumps and polio, diseases once considered problems of the past, can quickly thrive if people are not immunized, Yaffe said.

"Now those diseases are rare, people are less fearful of them," she said.