A Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article reporting on a government agreement to pay compensation to the parents of a child who developed autism after receiving a series of vaccinations distorts the case in question to promote its own anti-vaccine agenda. From the article:
The federal government continues to deny a link between vaccines and autism, but the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled in favor of a child alleged to have regressed into autism as a result of vaccinations.
Several of the vaccinations included the controversial mercury-based preservative thimerosal, points out the National Autism Association, which sees the ruling as confirmation of the claims of many parents.
The NAA criticized the CDC decision, noting thimerosal is still found in flu shots recommended for children and pregnant women.
Thimerosal in vaccines is suspected of causing brain damage and weakening the immune system, making some children susceptible later to infection from measles, mumps and rubella shots.
[Author David] Kirby, writing for the Huffington Post, reported the government's written concession said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was "aggravated" by her shots and ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
WND quoted only anti-vaccine activists and ignored other evidence in the case that weakens the argument of those activists.
As a March 7 Associated Press article notes, the child received five simultaneous vaccines as a toddler, after which she regressed into an autistic state. The parents, according to the AP, "were exploring two theories to explain what happened to Hannah. One is that she was born with the mitochondria disorder and the vaccines caused a stress to her body that worsened the condition. The other is that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal caused the mitochondrial dysfunction."
Further, as a March 8 New York Times article reports:
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.
Five major studies have found no link, and since thimerosal’s removal from all routinely administered childhood vaccines in 2001, there has been no apparent effect on autism rates.
The Times article also states:
“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.”
The AP article adds:
“There are no scientific studies documenting that childhood vaccinations cause or worsen mitochondrial diseases, but there is very little scientific research in this area,” said Chuck Mohan, executive director the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based group that raises money for research.
It's a much more complicated case than the WND article makes it appear. But WND made it appear that way by not reporting the full story.
This is a WND hobbyhorse. In April 2007, an issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine was devoted to "exposing the dark side of vaccines," featuring an article lionizing the conservative-leaning Association of American Physicians and Surgeons for opposing all vaccine mandates. Indeed, WND seems loath to admit that vaccines have done any good for anyone.