Today the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program/Court ruled that the combination of the MMR vaccine and thimerosal in other vaccines did not cause or contribute to the cause of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism in the cases of Cedillo, Hazelhurst, Snyder v. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Though the litigation on which vaccines may have caused autism in some children varies, this ruling only affects those who claim the interaction of the MMR vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism. There are still 5,000 cases still to be decided, and many unanswered questions for the thousands of families affected by autism.
ASA believes that the science of autism causes and treatments need to be more vigorously researched. We hope that primary decisions on medical research and comprehensive treatment and services will be reached through thoughtful dialogue by parents and professionals. Individuals living with autism need help today, and this case illustrates the need for the medical community to probe further into environmental causes of autism. Like all families affected by autism, these families deserve to be heard and supported in their journey raising their children.
What this ruling doesn’t address is the continuing need of these families for services and supports throughout their children’s lifespan, regardless of what caused their autism. While we don’t know the cause for autism, or its interaction with other conditions or environmental aggregators, we need to focus today on what works to maximize the potential of people with autism to help them live meaningful, productive lives.
This has always been ASA’s mission and we will continue to advocate for research, family and individual support, and lifespan services for people across the autism spectrum.