Thread for Vaccine Court (Mead and King)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Thread for Vaccine Court (Mead and King)
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 11:23am

I thought I would start a thread for coverage of the vaccinate court case that started yesterday to post the coverage, blogs, comments on within.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 11:25am

May 13, 2008
Court Hears More Claims of Vaccine-Autism Link

WASHINGTON — The United States Court of Federal Claims began another hearing on Monday to decide whether a vaccine additive led thousands of children to become autistic.

The hearing is the second in a series of three in which the court is considering whether the government should pay millions of dollars to the parents of some 4,800 autistic children. In this hearing, parents are claiming that thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, damaged their children’s brains. Thimerosal was removed from all routinely administered childhood vaccines by 2001.

Every major study and scientific organization to examine the issue has found no link between vaccination and autism, but the parents and their advocates have persisted.

The claims are being heard in a special court set up by Congress 20 years ago when a series of scares nearly crippled the vaccine industry. The hearing is expected to last two to three weeks, and a decision is not expected until next year.

Almost absent from this hearing and the others in the series is any discussion of the case of Hannah Poling, an autistic 9-year-old from Athens, Ga., who the government conceded last year might have been injured by vaccines. Vaccine critics say the concession gives strong evidence that vaccines cause autism, but government officials say the case proves nothing regarding the safety of vaccines.

The experiences of two 10-year-old boys from Portland, Ore., are at the center of the latest hearing. The boys, William Mead and Jordan King, were developing normally until they were vaccinated, said Thomas Powers, a lawyer representing them.

But a buildup of mercury in their brains from vaccines containing thimerosal led the boys to regress, Mr. Powers contended.

The claims for the two boys are test cases being heard to determine whether parents in thousands of similar cases should receive compensation. Last summer, Mr. Powers presented before the special court the test case of Michelle Cedillo, who Mr. Powers claimed was injured by both vaccines containing thimerosal and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, which did not contain thimerosal.

Next summer, the court will hear a test case in which lawyers will argue that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was the sole cause of autism.

Plaintiffs and their lawyers have sought for years to delay hearings on their vaccine claims, hoping new research or government data would bolster their arguments. But with each passing year, the claim that thimerosal had an important effect on children has become harder to sustain. Its removal has appeared to have no effect on autism rates.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 11:26am

Nearly 5,000 Families File Claims Against Autism-Vaccination Link

May 12, 2008 11:47 p.m. EST

Nidhi Sharma - AHN News Writer

Washington D.C. (AHN) - Around 5,000 families who believe that a mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, found in many vaccines causes the development of autism have filed claims with the U.S. Court of Claims. The families allege vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children.

Autism is a developmental disability which usually appears in children during their first 36 months. Once an uncommon disorder in the United States, the incidence of autism is now occurring at epidemic rates.

The case, which began Monday, offers two 10-year-old boys from Portland, Oregon, William Mead and Jordan King as test cases for the theory that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism.

They will show the federal court that the two boys were developing normally until they were exposed to vaccines with the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury.

In 2007, three test cases were presented in court to examine whether the combination of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines containing thimerosal cause autism. Four more test cases this year to determine whether MMR vaccines, regardless of whether or not they contain thimerosal, may bring about the condition.

Arguments in favor of vaccine safety tend to emphasize that no connection has been proven, and that vaccines are such an overwhelming public good that even raising the possibility of not vaccinating children is irresponsible.

The Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia disputes evidence claiming to link MMR to autism, supports evidence of a genetic connection, and concludes that "unfortunately, for current and future parents of children with autism, the controversy surrounding vaccines has caused attention and resources to focus away from a number of promising leads."

Many pharmaceutical companies have begun the process of taking thimerosal out of their vaccines intended for children. If successful, the families could receive compensation up to $250,000 for past and future medical expenses, special education expenses and other problems.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 11:27am

Autism testimony resumes in vaccine court

* Story Highlights
* Special U.S. court hearing cases on link between childhood vaccines, autism
* Current case focuses on mercury-derived preservative thimerosal
* Many members of the medical community skeptical of the families' claims

By Paul Courson

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Testimony resumed Monday in a long-running case involving thousands of children with autism that their parents contend was triggered by an early childhood vaccination.

The parents are seeking compensation because the vaccines contained thimerosal, a mercury-derived compound they say helped bring on regressive autism, in which normally developing children suddenly exhibit learning disorders and behavioral problems, typically between ages 1 and 2.

Two families are serving as test cases in this second of a three-phase review of evidence being examined by a special federal court intended to compensate victims of injuries caused by vaccines. Nearly 5,000 other autism claims are pending in the court.

The theory that vaccines or thimerosal can cause autism is not accepted by many medical experts, including the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Multiple scientific studies also have not proved a link.

In his opening remarks, family attorney Thomas Powers disputed what he said is the government's focus on defending the nation's vaccination program.

"This case is not about the science of vaccines. It is not anti-vaccine," Powers told a panel of three "special masters."

"It's on a mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, that today is largely a relic of history," he said. Thimerosal was removed from infant vaccines in 1999.

U.S. Justice Department attorney Lynn Ricciardella presented the government's opening remarks.

"In the six years since the U.S. Court of Federal Claims created this proceeding, petitioners have not moved beyond their hypothesis," Ricciardella said.

"The debate is over," she concluded, "the credible scientific community has rejected it."

But Powers, speaking with reporters during a midday break, said the government's defense rests largely on research done no later than 2004. "There are at least 35 studies, peer-reviewed and published," that the families hope to showcase through expert testimony, he said.

This phase of the litigation is scheduled to run three weeks. Each phase involves a look at representative cases of children with autism and their medical history to help the special masters determine whether there is a link between their disabilities and thimerosal-containing vaccines that would warrant compensation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 11:41am

"measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines containing thimerosal"

Uhh, irresponsible journalism :) The MMR vaccine has never contained thimerosal.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 11:47am

"Thimerosal was removed from all routinely administered childhood vaccines by 2001."

More irresponsible journalism :)

Hep B, Flu contain thimerosal. From the CDC Pink Book 2008 version.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2008
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 2:44pm

Yeah... what this REALLY means is...

By 2001, FDA "requested" manufacturer's to discontinue its use in further production. They may - they may not have... they may they may not have disclosed it.

Either way - this would account for further productions of various vaccines - not those already in circulation.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2007
Tue, 05-13-2008 - 7:25pm

"This case is not about the science of vaccines. It is not anti-vaccine," Powers told a panel of three "special masters."

*** How fundamentally sad that this man must work so diligently to shake the "anti-vax" political innuendo that so many shamelessly promote.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2007
Mon, 05-19-2008 - 11:30am

Listen, or read (when transcripts are available) for yourselves....