Reduced perception of usefulness of vaccines and fear of undesirable effects have motivated the growing hesitation towards vaccinoprofilaxis in recent years. In particular, fear that vaccines can cause autism is the main reason for hesitation. The attempt to put fear of autism in the background by focusing on fear of infectious diseases seems an ineffective strategy as it drives choices based on emotions instead of awareness. With the aim of attenuating fear of autism through a better knowledge of this condition, the pathogenetic model that best accounts for the onset and the clinical characteristics of autism spectrum disorders will be described. The dissertation will lead to the conclusion that a simplistic traditional cause-effect model is unable to justify the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of autism. Therefore, not the making of a single risk factor guilty, but the awareness of the complexity of the pathogenetic model can lead to an effective intervention of primary prevention for neurodevelopmental disorders.
Keywords: Vaccinations, Vaccine hesitancy, Neurodevelopmental disorders, Epigenetics, Neuroinflammation, Primary prevention.