WASHINGTON — Study after study has failed to show any link between vaccines and autism, but many parents of autistic children remain unconvinced. For the skeptics, the case of 9-year-old Hannah Poling shows that they have been right along.
The government has conceded that vaccines may have hurt Hannah, and it has agreed to pay her family for her care. Advocates say the settlement — reached last fall in a federal compensation court for people injured by vaccines, but disclosed only in recent days — is a long-overdue government recognition that vaccinations can cause autism.
Mr. Gilmore has filed his own claim that his son became autistic as a result of vaccinations.
Government officials say they have made no such concession.
“Let me be very clear that the government has made absolutely no statement indicating that vaccines are a cause of autism,” Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday. “That is a complete mischaracterization of the findings of the case and a complete mischaracterization of any of the science that we have at our disposal today.”
Hannah, of Athens, Ga., was 19 months old and developing normally in 2000 when she received five shots against nine infectious diseases. Two days later, she developed a fever, cried inconsolably and refused to walk. Over the next seven months she spiraled downward, and in 2001 she was given a diagnosis of autism.
Hannah’s father, Dr. Jon Poling, was a neurology resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the time, and she underwent an intensive series of tests that found a disorder in her mitochondria, the energy factories of the cells.The disease control centers, the Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all largely dismissed the notion that thimerosal causes or contributes to autism.
tag: autism, vaccine, Hannah of Athens, FDA, the Institute of Medicine, WHO, AAP, thimerosal