February 12th, 2009
01:03 PM ET

Court rules vaccines not to blame for autism

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

There is a special court, known colloquially as a vaccine court. It is a place where judges called “special masters,” who are legal experts, not medical doctors, hear claims about vaccine injuries. It’s been around since the late 80s, in part prompted by the scare over the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccine possibly causing injuries. If the court finds that an injury was likely caused by a vaccine, it can make a monetary award. For example, a few years ago, there was a case of optic neuritis after the tetanus vaccine. Other awards were given for fibromyalgia after the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine; transverse myelitis after the HiB (Haemophilus influenzae type B) vaccine; and Guillain-Barre and MS after the hepatitis B vaccine.

Many people started paying attention to the court after the federal government last year awarded damages to the family of Hannah Poling, conceding that Hannah was injured by a vaccine, causing her autism-like symptoms. (Read about Hannah’s case here) According to the Department of Justice, more than 1,500 people have been paid in excess of $1.18 billion since the inception of the program in 1988.

There is no question there is lots of money at play here. For more than 20 years now, the program has been funded by an excise tax of 75 cents on every purchased dose of covered vaccine. And, with today’s decision, some of the big questions about vaccines and autism are being addressed. It is worth noting the standard the court was using allowed for the petitioners (the parents of the children with autism) to demonstrate “biologic plausibility” as opposed to direct cause and effect. Scientifically, biological plausibility is an easier standard to meet. (Read about vaccine court now).

While this can by no means be a complete overview of the hundreds of pages that composed the ruling (read the decisions here), it is safe to say that the court found no biological plausibility of a connection between autism and either the MMR vaccine, or the combination of MMR vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines: no awards will be granted in any of these test cases. We spent some time with Michelle Cedillo, one of the children represented in the test cases last year (meet her here). You will no doubt hear a lot more about this in the days to come. Within the world of autism and vaccines, this is a huge deal and a major ruling.

Couple of points: Remember that thimerosal is a mercury-derived preservative that was present in many childhood vaccines that did not contain a live virus (for example, the MMR vaccine never contained thimerosal). Nowadays thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines that are routinely recommended for children six years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine. In case you are curious, a preservative-free version of the inactivated influenza vaccine (contains trace amounts of thimerosal) is available in limited supply at this time for use in infants, children and pregnant women. And, in the interest of clarity, vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose. (Learn more about vaccines here)

On page 278 of the decision in of the cases, Snyder v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the statements even get a little snide. The special master, Denice K. Vowell, wrote “to conclude that Colten’s condition was the result of his MMR vaccine, an objective observer would have to emulate Lewis Carroll’s White Queen and be able to believe the six impossible (or, at least highly improbable) things before breakfast.” She goes on to say “the families of ASD and the court have waited in vain for adequate evidence to support the autism–MMR hypothesis.”

So, do you feel like you are gazing through the “looking-glass?”

I hope you get a chance to click on the links above and read the rulings. You will find that not all the experts agreed with one another and the evidence is worth reading. After that, I’m eager to hear what you think.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

Next entry »
soundoff (903 Responses)
  1. Sprinter Vanrooftop A/C Leak Repair

    Very good information. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!


    May 16, 2021 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Van Repair

    Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 16, 2021 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Maserati Jacket


    May 16, 2021 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sprinter Truck Repair

    There is definately a great deal to find out about this subject. I really like all the points you have made.


    May 17, 2021 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Maserati Near Santa Clara


    May 17, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Repair Sprinter


    May 17, 2021 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Chevy Venture Van Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 07:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mercedes Sprinter Service

    Right here is the perfect website for everyone who wishes to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject that has been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    May 17, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 2016 Sprinter Repair Shops


    May 17, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Dodge Van Frame Repair Kit

    Right here is the right site for everyone who really wants to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just excellent!


    May 17, 2021 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sacramento Maserati

    Great info. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've book marked it for later!


    May 17, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sprinter Van Inside Computer Repair Shop

    After exploring a handful of the articles on your website, I honestly like your technique of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website as well and let me know your opinion.


    May 17, 2021 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 2014 Maserati Granturismo Convertible

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?


    May 17, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv repair near here


    May 17, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. tv repair in temecula

    I seriously love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my very own blog and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Many thanks!


    May 18, 2021 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. rv remodeling supplies

    I could not resist commenting. Very well written!


    May 18, 2021 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. furniture reupholstery orange county

    Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 18, 2021 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Livia Ferrio

    Everyone loves it when people get together and share ideas. Great blog, continue the good work!


    May 18, 2021 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. best auto air conditioning repair near me


    May 18, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. best energy diet pills

    Very nice blog post. I absolutely love this site. Keep it up!


    May 19, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Best Roofing Companies Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 03:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Best Selection Of Eyeglass Frames Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Micheal Smith

    Great post! I like to learn, and I have learned something! Thanks you very much keep the good work!


    May 19, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Best Eyecare Near Me

    You're so interesting! I do not think I have read something like this before. So nice to discover another person with unique thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    May 19, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Micheal Smith

    Great post! I like to learn, and I have learned something! Thanks you very much keep the good work!


    May 19, 2021 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. newborn baby gift ideas for parents

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that produce the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!


    May 19, 2021 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Refrigerator Los Angeles


    May 19, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. trailer services near me

    This is the perfect webpage for anybody who really wants to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just excellent!


    May 19, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Paint Shop Orange County


    May 19, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Google Marketing Consultant

    Your style is so unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this site.


    May 20, 2021 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Content Marketing Firm


    May 20, 2021 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Social Media Marketing Companies

    Hey there! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your great information you've got right here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.


    May 20, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Content Marketing Near Me

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now 😉


    May 20, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. SEO Marketing Business


    May 20, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Digital Marketing Company

    This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 20, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. the truck shop orange


    May 20, 2021 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Mercedes Sprinter Maintenance Service Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Sound System Orange County


    May 20, 2021 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. ibs collision center

    This is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!


    May 20, 2021 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Video Marketing Specialist

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the website is also very good.


    May 20, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Sprinter Armrest Repair


    May 21, 2021 at 04:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Collision Repair Orange County


    May 21, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Remodel Riverside

    I want to to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you book marked to check out new things you post…


    May 21, 2021 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Beds California

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thank you for providing these details.


    May 21, 2021 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Internet Marketing Agencies Near Me

    Hello there! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you have got here on this post. I am coming back to your blog for more soon.


    May 21, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Shower California


    May 21, 2021 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. good sam rv insurance phone number

    You are so awesome! I do not think I have read through a single thing like that before. So wonderful to find somebody with unique thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!


    May 21, 2021 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. generator repair san diego

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    May 21, 2021 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Social Media Marketing Agency Around Me


    May 21, 2021 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Google Marketing Business


    May 21, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Leave a Reply to body shop supplies lemon grove


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Next entry »
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.