The United States Court of Federal Claims started another hearing to determine if thimerosal, a vaccine additive led several children to become autistic.The hearing is the second in a series of three in which the court is evaluating whether the government should pay damages to the parents of some 4,800 autistic children. In this hearing, parents are alleging that thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, damaged their children’s brains. Thimerosal was removed from all routinely administered childhood vaccines by 2001.
Every major study and scientific organization to examine the issue has found no link between vaccination and autism, but the vaccine critics have persisted in pursing the claim.
The claims are being heard in a special court set up by Congress 20 years ago when a series of scares nearly destroyed the vaccine industry. A decision is not expected until next year.
Absent from this hearing and the others in the series is any discussion of the case of Hannah Poling, an autistic 9-year-old from Athens, Ga., who the government conceded last year might have been injured by vaccines. Vaccine critics say the concession gives strong evidence that vaccines cause autism, but government officials say the case proves nothing regarding the safety of vaccines.
Medical Analysis: The jury is still out on this issue. Obviously something is causing the increase in autism; is it because we are better at diagnosis or is there an environmental/genetic cause?