Huffpo: "Vaccine Court Awards Millions to Two Children With Autism"

This has been making the rounds on Facebook, and people I previously thought sane are in wild support of the feds ponying up big bucks to autism sufferers due their “vaccine-caused autism”

From the article:

It’s early and I haven’t had much coffee yet, but two things strike me as odd (besides the fact that there is, apparently, a “vaccine court” to begin with):

  1. The medical records have been blocked, so the info in that article is gleaned from witnesses, not actual records.

2)The government didn’t admit that vaccines caused autism, but rather the court determined the vaccines caused encepalopathy, which as I understand it is a catch-all term for brain disorders.

This board, with some justification, holds anti-vaxers in the same league of morons that include Jack Chick, Orly Taitz and her followers, and the Time Cube guy. I’m not aware of any vocal anti-vaxers on the board, so I’m curious what Doper’s opinions are on this ruling, and what it means for the pro-vax / anti-vax argument.

The link between vaccines and autism has been conclusively disproven, and the original claim (and successive waves of belief) were based on one small, falsified study.

This is a dismaying event. I wonder if the court was allowed to acknowledge the debunking of the original study.

The website. Looks like it’s a no-fault alternative to the usual lawsuits.

In neither of these two recent vaccine court cases was it ruled that vaccines caused autism. It was decided that there was encephalopathy which the preponderance of evidence suggested was associated with vaccination. Encephalopathy is a term denoting brain injury which can in rare instances be caused by a vaccine (and more commonly by the infectious diseases vaccines protect against); it is not a synonym for autism.

As this article relates, evidence in one case (Mojabi) is lacking that the child even had autism, and the court ruling in the other case does not mention autism or ASD.

Bear in mind also that a prior vaccine court ruling specifically addressed the vaccines-cause-autism claim and found it lacking.

And this news just in: the Institute of Medicine has issued a report finding that the current vaccine schedule is safe.

“Upon reviewing stakeholder concerns and scientific literature regarding the entire childhood immunization schedule, the IOM committee finds no evidence that the schedule is unsafe. The committee’s review did not reveal an evidence base suggesting that the U.S. childhood immunization schedule is linked to autoimmune diseases, asthma, hypersensitivity, seizures, child developmental disorders, learning or developmental disorders, or attention deficit or disruptive disorders.”

Incidentally, the slanted HuffPo piece (which ignores the weight of evidence against a vaccine-autism connection, including previous vaccine court rulings in the matter) is written by David Kirby, a noted antivax activist and pseudojournalist best known for flogging the debunked thimerosal-autism connection.

From a link at that site is the standard required by the program:

This low bar of evidence program was indeed created as the no-fault alternative to lawsuits back in the era when most of pharma was pulling out of vaccines due to the unknown “any given Sunday” exposure factor. In practice it means money for the family if the worsening of a condition or onset of a condition occurs timed with vaccine(s) administration and there is no other provable proximate cause.

Given that the official MMR vaccine information sheet (VIS, that every parent gets before the child gets a vaccine) states the under “Severe Problems - Very Rare”:

a claim that long-term seizures and brain damage that occurred in a covered time period after the vaccine without a clear other proximate cause (and note, having a different underlaying condition, some other brain or metabolic disorder, is not enough, it must be a different proximate cause) will be covered under the program.

Such will be interpreted by many as a finding that the vaccine caused the problem. It is no such thing. It is however how the program is intended to function.