Neev M. Arnell
May 17, 2011
The federal government has been publicly denying any link between autism and vaccines for over two decades, while it has quietly been paying out damages for vaccine injury to children with autism, a study released May 10th shows. The study underscores the need for Congressional hearings and independent scientific research into the connection between autism and vaccines (http://www.news-medical.net/news/20…).
The federal government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was created in 1989 to act as a “no fault” taxpayer-funded alternative for those seeking compensation for proven vaccine injury. The new peer-reviewed study, published May 10th in the Pace Environmental Law Review, looked at cases of vaccine injury that have been monetarily compensated by the VICP. The study looked at 1300 cases of children with brain injury resulting from vaccines where the court’s records referenced autism, symptoms of autism or disorders commonly associated with autism — twenty-one cases outright stated “autism or autism-like symptoms” in the court records. The researchers then identified and contacted 150 of the families that were compensated to find out whether the children had autism. 62 of the families they contacted (greater than 40 percent of their sample) reported children with autism, for a total of 83 cases of autism. (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele…).
“What we did is we looked at the people who the government said are clearly vaccine injuries and awarded them compensation,” said Lou Conte, the vaccine compensation recipient who helped coordinate the study.
“We asked the next question and that question was: Do some of these people also have autism?” said Conte. “We found that in 83 of the cases we were able to locate, the families report that their children have autism and symptoms of autism.” (http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/health/n…)
Government and conventional medicine maintain denial
The CDC has since released a statement supporting their previous statements that no link between vaccines and autism exists. (http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/morn…)
Some medical experts agree. While the stories are heartbreaking, said Dr. David Nelson chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital, there is no connection between vaccinations and autism.
“There are absolutely no data that show autism is linked to vaccinations,” said Nelson. (http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/health/n…)
The Health Resources and Services Administration, the Federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable, also put out a statement in response to the new study stating:
“The government has not compensated any case based on a determination that autism, in the absence of acute neurological illness, was actually caused by vaccines. Furthermore, there is no reliable scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism even in cases where an acute encephalopathy following vaccination has occurred.”(http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/health/n…)
Critics argue for further investigation
The Huffington Post asked Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy, whose board members authored the study, why anyone should care about the legal proceedings of some obscure court when so much published science says otherwise.
The EBCALA argued that the government officials in Health and human Services or the VICP who decided that the children in this study suffered vaccine injury did so based on science.
“We uncovered that these children also have autism. How can the government then continue to assert that there is no link between vaccines and autism?” said EBCALA directors, “If in fact there is no link, why would there be even one case of vaccine-associated autism, let alone 83?”
Authors of the study called their preliminary findings “the tip of the iceberg,” during a press conference in Washington May 11th.
Hundreds of autism cases have been settled quietly by the government, they say, while thousands more were probably never filed, according to News Medical. There are currently over 5,000 court cases pending that claim autism as a result of vaccine injury. (http://www.news-medical.net/news/20…).
“The [VICP] appears to favor cases without any reference to autism,” said National Autism Association President Wendy Fournier. “The message is clear, if you want to receive financial support for the long-term medical care of your loved one injured by vaccines, submit a claim for brain damage, or residual seizure disorder – but leave autism out of it.”
NAA believes the findings of the new study call into serious question the continued assertion from federal health agencies that vaccines do not cause autism.
“As this study shows, vaccines can and do cause brain damage and subsequent autism in certain children,” said Fournier. “The government has been settling these cases for over twenty years, yet has failed to conduct research into why these children were susceptible to vaccine injury. This neglect will continue to needlessly and senselessly result in adverse reactions and autism in other children.”
Call for congressional hearings
“Congress needs to find out whether there was a cover-up,” said lead author and managing director of EBCALA Mary Holland. “It doesn’t look good.”
SafeMinds says the government has asserted that it “does not track” autism among the vaccine-injured. SafeMinds is a nonprofit that aims to raise awareness, support research and focus attention on the growing evidence of a link between mercury and neurological disorders such as autism, attention deficit disorder and learning difficulties.
Not looking is the easiest way not to find something, said SafeMinds, so the organization is calling for immediate federal research into the mechanisms of injury in these children in an effort to protect other children from harm and Congressional action to reform the VICP.
“This study dramatically shifts the debate on autism and vaccines,” said SafeMinds’ Executive Director, Lyn Redwood. “The question is no longer, Can vaccines cause autism? The answer is clear. Now, we have to ask, How many cases of autism have vaccines caused and how do we prevent new injuries from occurring?”
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This article was posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 2:40 am