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Parents and Advocates Label Today's Vaccine Court Rulings Insincere and Politically Driven, Says National Autism Association
Date:2/12/2009

Government Conceded One Year Ago that Vaccines Caused Autism; Today's Ruling Demonstrates Backpedaling, Further Undermines Vaccine Safety

NIXA, Mo., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today's ruling in vaccine court has thousands of families outraged at the federal government's broken promise of medical care following a vaccine injury.

Last February, the government conceded that a child's vaccinations led to her autism. Today, however, the government ruled in favor of itself in three cases filed in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) claiming vaccinations led to regressive autism. Advocates say they are disappointed in today's rulings, but not surprised.

Last year's concession brought the vaccination program bad publicity, casting suspicion on today's outcome among parents and advocates. Others feel the rulings today will actually hurt the vaccination program more than it helps. "Parents make their decisions on whether or not to vaccinate based on trust in vaccine safety," says NAA president and parent Wendy Fournier. "Parents are led to believe that should their child be injured by vaccines, the government would provide medical care. But the message today is that parents will be on their own should their child suffer a negative vaccine reaction."

In 1986, the NVICP took effect for children born after October 1988. Unencumbered by litigation, drug companies had practically unfettered influence upon government vaccine program decision-makers, ensuring their vaccines were given to every child in America. But through the years, critics have argued that the program has become more like "Kangaroo Court" where no discovery phase is allowed and evidence pertinent to cases is inaccessible.

In the case of autism-related injuries in the NVICP, the government has refused to fund science looking into the connection between autism and vaccines, while also forbidding plaintiff access to the Vaccine Safety Database (VSD). "It's difficult for parents to have a fair day in court when both funding for vaccine research and VSD access has been blocked," says NAA Executive Director Rita Shreffler.

For years, thousands of parents have come forward with the same account: their perfectly healthy child regressed into a state of autism following well-baby checkups where vaccinations were received. But as more and more families come forward, they are repeatedly told it is merely a coincidence. "These children are basically collateral damage while parents receive the coincidence theory from pediatricians and federal health agencies," says NAA board chair Lori McIlwain. "Thousands of parents have the same story. Will it still be considered a coincidence when we reach the millions?"

Since the NVICP was established, vaccines given to children have grown at an alarming rate and so have the rates of childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ADD, ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Autism and more. "As a nation, we have substituted acute illness with chronic disease and have produced the sickest generation of children ever in America," says Shreffler. "New parents are not blind to this and the government's reaction to the autism-vaccine connection creates further anxiety. The government is undermining the very program they're trying to promote."

For more information, please visit www.nationalautism.org.

    Contacts:
    Wendy Fournier 401-835-5828
    Rita Shreffler 417-818-9030


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SOURCE National Autism Association
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