According to an AP report today, a special court has ruled rather dramatically against three sets of parents with autistic children, saying that vaccines are absolutely not to blame for their children’s neurological disorder (autism). The judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent’s claims — and their ruling backs years of science and mountains of evidence from around the world that found no risk for either the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, having any role in autism or ASD.
More than 5,000 claims were filed with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children.
To win, the parents and their attorneys only had to show that it was more likely than not that the autism symptoms were directly related to the measles-mumps-rubella shots they received.
They did NOT have to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt – which is the usual standard in court cases.
Furthermore, only the best cases, those most likely to uphold the accusation that vaccines caused autism were considered. And, not even the strongest cases held any water.
According to a Reuters story, the Vaccine Court Omnibus Autism Proceeding ruled against the parents of Michelle Cedillo, Colten Snyder and William Yates Hazlehurst, who had claimed that a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine had combined with other vaccine ingredients to damage the three children.
“Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment,” Special Master George Hastings, a former tax claims expert at the Department of Justice, wrote in the 183-page Cedillo ruling.
The families sought payment under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault system that has a $2.5 billion fund built up from a 75-cent-per-dose tax on vaccines.
Instead of judges, three “special masters” heard the three test cases representing thousands of other petitioners.
They asked whether a combination vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, plus a mercury-containing preservative called thimerosal, caused the children’s symptoms.
“The evidence does not support the general proposition that thimerosal-containing vaccines can damage infants’ immune systems,” Hastings wrote, after reviewing tens of thousands of documents and hours of oral arguments.
“I further conclude that while Michelle Cedillo has tragically suffered from autism and other severe conditions, the petitioners have also failed to demonstrate that her vaccinations played any role at all in causing those problems.”
I had expected this outcome. As long-time readers of this blog and my books know, there is just no evidence to support the claim, and literally a mountain of evidence refuting it.
I predict the same exact verdict with this same special court decides on the claim that the vaccine preservative, thimersol, caused autism.
So, know that the courts agree with the science that there is no association between vaccines and autism. Now, we all need to work toward three goals:
Experts say parents often link vaccines with their children’s symptoms because they are vaccinated at an age when autism and related disorders are often first diagnosed.
“We need ongoing research into the causes of autism, but cannot let unfounded myths keep us from giving our children the proven protection they need against infectious diseases,” the American Medical Association said in response to the ruling.
The Institute of Medicine reviewed the evidence in 2001 and 2004, and determined there was no link between vaccines and autism. Many other studies have shown no link, but a small and vocal group of parents continues to press the case.
The advocacy group Autism Speaks said the ruling did not necessarily clear vaccines, or any other potential cause.
“We will continue to support authoritative research that addresses unanswered questions about whether certain subgroups of individuals with particular underlying medical or genetic conditions may be more vulnerable to adverse effects of vaccines,” the group said in a statement.
The judges totally and completely rejected this argument in his ruling. So should every parent.
Autism is a mysterious condition that affects as many as one in 150 U.S. children. The so-called spectrum (ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorders) ranges from mild Asperger’s Syndrome to severe mental retardation and social disability, and there is no cure or good treatment.
For more information on thimerosal from the CDC, click here. Also, see my previous blogs on thimerosal:
Here are other blogs in this series you might find useful: