National Autism Association Calls for Immediate Congressional and Scientific Investigation Into Autism-Vaccine Link
NIXA, Mo., May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite numerous studies cited repeatedly by federal officials as proof that vaccines do not cause autism, a new study released today in the Pace Environmental Law Review revealed that over the last two decades, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has been quietly compensating dozens of vaccine injury cases involving a child with autism. The preliminary findings showed approximately 1300 cases of vaccine injury resulted in childhood brain injury, 83 of which had autism. The National Autism Association (NAA) says the study further underscores the need for Congressional hearings and independent scientific research into the autism-vaccine connection.
The only product liability-protection program of its kind, NVICP was established in the late 80s to act as a taxpayer-funded "no-fault" alternative in seeking medical care compensation for those with proven vaccine injuries. Since that time, the government has only publicly conceded to one vaccine-induced autism case involving nine-year-old Hannah Poling, but maintained Poling's case was "rare" and did not result in autism, but "autism-like symptoms." Based on the new report, however, the program has compensated far more cases involving a diagnosis of autism. "They've essentially taken the wordplay approach," states NAA President Wendy Fournier. "For an unavoidable vaccine-autism case like Hannah Poling's, the government chose to downplay the connection using semantics. In the 83 cases found in this investigation, the government maintains that vaccines caused 'encephalopathy' (brain damage) and/or 'residual seizure disorder' in these children with autism, but not the autism."
During a press conference held in Washington today, authors of the study called these preliminary findings "the tip of the iceberg." They feel hundreds of autism cases have been settled quietly by the government. Thousands more were never filed. There are currently over 5,000 vaccine court cases pending that claim autism as a result of vaccine injury. To date, with the exception of the concession of Hannah Poling's case, none of these claims have been successful. "The NVICP appears to favor cases without any reference to autism," Fournier added. "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 these findings 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."
Recently, the federal government called autism—now affecting an estimated one in 110 individuals—a "national health emergency." To learn more about autism, visit nationalautism.org.
Wendy Fournier (Portsmouth, RI) 401-835-5828
Lori McIlwain (Cary, NC) 919-741-1646
SOURCE National Autism Association