Siding with a “vaccine court” decision from last year, a federal appeals court ruled late last week that vaccines are not to blame for autism.
The ruling came in an appeal of the case of Michelle Cedillo, a 16-year-old Arizona girl who has autism and intellectual disability, among other diagnoses. Her parents, Theresa and Michael Cedillo, sought compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a federal fund for those injured by vaccinations, arguing that their daughter’s autism was the result of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine and the preservative thimerosal.
The Cedillo case was one of a series of test cases heard by the so-called vaccine court, which has been flooded in recent years with more than 5,000 requests for compensation related to diagnoses of autism, despite scientific evidence showing no link. All of the test case claims, including the Cedillo’s, were rejected.
“Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment,” wrote Special Master George L. Hastings, Jr. in rejecting the Cedillo’s claim last year in what he called “not a close case at all.”
The appeals court further rejected the Cedillo’s claim on Friday, saying the special master’s decision in the previous ruling was “rationally supported by the evidence, well-articulated and reasonable.”
Since the test cases were selected because they were believed to be some of the strongest among the autism-related claims, the court’s rejection signals that other cases likely won’t fare well either.
What’s more, a series of separate rulings from the vaccine court earlier this year found that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal which has been used in some vaccines is also not responsible for autism.