Last week, 3 special masters in federal vaccine court released independent rulings against families who contended that vaccines had caused their children’s autism.
The judges’ findings meant the 3 families and thousands of similar claimants will not receive compensation, but it will probably not deter those who believe there’s a conspiracy involving the government, vaccine makers and evil scientists to hide the truth about a vaccine-autism link.
Numerous studies show there is no link between childhood vaccines and autism.
Federal agencies from HHS to the CDC also say there’s no link, and public health officials warn that people who don’t vaccinate their kids endanger their lives as well as those of others with whom they interact.
Still concerns remain especially about the MMR vaccine, which prevents measles, mumps and rubella. The National Center for Health Statistics says roughly one in 12 kids in the US hasn’t received the MMR.
In one case, special master George Hastings concluded the family’s theory linking vaccines and autism was “very wrong. The (family has) been misled by physicians who are guilty…of gross medical misjudgment.”
This family’s daughter became ill one week after receiving the MMR at the age of 16 months. The girl, now 14, requires full-time medical care, has a seizure disorder, is nearly blind and is beset with abdominal pain.
In another case, the family argued that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative in the MMR vaccine caused its son to develop a type of autism.
But special master Denise Vowell concluded that the experts who argued for no link “were far more qualified, better supported by the weight of scientific research… and…more persuasive.”
The conspiracy movement has been embraced by several celebrities and politicians including House Republican Dan Burton and Robert F. Kennedy who asserted there was a “government cover-up of a mercury/autism scandal” in a June 2005 Rolling Stone article.