« Paper Details Prosecutors' Documents in Gay Student's Killing | Main | Student Speech in the Facebook Era »

U.S. Court Finds No Vaccine-Autism Link


A special federal court ruled today that there is no persuasive evidence for a link between childhood vaccines and autism.

The conclusions came in three test cases heard by special masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, a special court in Washington with jurisdiction over certain suits against the federal government. Since 1987, the court has dealt with claims seeking compensation for injuries stemming from certain vaccines.

Many parents believe that thimerosal-containing vaccines and the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) are a cause of autism in their children. The debate has been followed by educators, with most scientific research failing to find such a link.

As the special master in one of the test cases concluded in today's ruling: "After careful consideration of all of the evidence, it was abundantly clear that petitioners’ theories of causation were speculative and unpersuasive."

The Court of Federal Claims decisions are available at this link. The court also has this background page about its "omnibus autism proceeding."

The Associated Press has this story about today's decisions. In 2007, the newspaper Legal Times published this background story on the litigation.


The Vaccine Court's release of its opinion on Darwin's 200th birthday was fortuitous, seeing as the vaccine-autism faithful have a good deal in common with religious fundamentalists. They are so invested in their ideas that they ignore or attack any evidence to the contrary, and treat gaps in the opposing evidence as further proof in their favor.

The obscenity of the "anti-vax" movement is stupefying-- a campaign to reinstitute open sewers or ban refrigeration could scarcely threaten greater violence to the public health.

I have much more to say on this topic here.

More recently, Maryland's highest court has come to a similar conclusion, though this case involved the certification of an expert witness.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments