Vaccine Preservative Does Not Cause Autism, Court Finds
A federal “vaccine court” delivered the second of a one-two punch Friday to parents who believe vaccines are to blame for their children’s autism.
In three test cases before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, parents sought to prove that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal found in some vaccines caused autism in their children. But the court overwhelming ruled against the families calling the idea “biologically implausible and scientifically unsupported.”
The cases are based on claims for compensation the parents filed with with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program — a federal fund for those injured by vaccinations.
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Friday’s rulings follow a similar outcome in three different test cases last year, which looked at whether the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine together with thimerosal could cause autism.
Though there is consensus among those in the scientific community that no link exists between autism and vaccines, many parents believe otherwise. In fact, a study released earlier this month in the journal Pediatrics found that 1 in 4 parents believe that vaccines can cause autism in otherwise healthy children.
The test cases the vaccine court ruled on were selected because they were believed to be some of the strongest claims among more than 5,000 citing autism. With that in mind, the court’s broad rejection of the families’ claims does not bode well for others seeking compensation from the vaccine fund due to autism.
“Hopefully after today’s ruling, we can put this issue behind us and move forward and direct our scarce autism research dollars to studies that will provide new information about what causes autism and how best to treat it,” said Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation.
But that seems unlikely. Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization, said Friday it would continue to fund research examining a possible relationship between vaccines and autism.