BREAKING NEWS: Vaccine Didn’t Cause Autism, Court Rules

12 02 2009

Vaccine didn’t cause autism, court rules

* Story Highlights
* NEW: Autism not caused by specific vaccines, special court rules
* NEW: Panel of “special masters” issues decisions on three test cases
* Cases involved children with autism that parents say was triggered by vaccinations

(CNN) — A special court ruled Thursday that parents of autistic children are not entitled to compensation in their contention that certain vaccines caused autism in their children.

“I must decide this case not on sentiment, but by analyzing the evidence,” one of the “special masters” hearing the case said in denying the families’ claims, ruling that the families had not presented sufficient evidence to prove their allegations.

The decisions came in three test cases heard in 2007 involving children with autism that their parents contend was triggered by early childhood vaccinations.

The three families — the Cedillos, the Hazlehursts and the Snyders — were notified Wednesday night that a decision had been reached, as were the more than 180 lawyers collectively representing the 4,800 families with claims in the Vaccine Court Omnibus Autism Proceeding, said lead plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas Powers. . .

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20 02 2009
JJ

See Slate article by author of the book “Vaccine” for hard facts like:

Today’s ruling isn’t the only bad news for the vaccine-autism theory. It suffered another blow in the court of public opinion earlier this week when the Times of London reported that British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield may have altered data in his 1998 Lancet study that first raised the possibility of a link between MMR and autism. It had previously been reported that a law firm paid Wakefield in the neighborhood of $1 million to conduct examinations of autistic children whose parents blamed the MMR shot, a fact he did not disclose to the editors of the Lancet.

It’s hard to overestimate the impact of Wakefield’s paper in terms of disease, unfounded worry, and the expenditure of hundreds of millions of legal dollars. In Britain, which has no compulsory vaccination, rates of MMR vaccination fell from 92 percent to as low as 80 percent. Herd immunity slipped away; as a result, last year there were 1,348 British measles cases, including two deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations, compared with 56 cases in 1998.

Surveys of U.S. parental opinion conducted for the American Medical Association in 2006 and 2008 show growing concern about the safety of vaccines. A study done by APCO Insight found that about 18 percent of parents had changed their vaccination practices out of safety concerns—compared with 12 percent in 2006.

An outbreak of 135 cases of measles around the United States last year—the biggest in a decade—began in unvaccinated children. Haemophilus influenzae type B, a disease nearly eliminated by a vaccine, killed an unvaccinated child in Minnesota last year. . .

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