It's been a confusing couple of weeks in vaccine-related news. First came the results of a recent study which found "no link" between the current vaccination recommendations and autism, then the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (also known as "vaccine court") awarded millions of dollars to two children with autism for "pain and suffering" and lifelong injury-related medical expenses.
Huh? But I thought they just said there was no link between ... wait, I'm confused. If vaccines don't cause autism, why did the government pay millions of dollars to autistic kids as compensation for vaccine injury? I'm no expert, and there's not a ton of information out there on these particular cases (because access to medical records has been blocked from public view), but I'm wondering if this doesn't all boil down to a system of semantics designed to protect the medical powers-that-be.
Because while the government has yet to admit that vaccines caused autism in these (or any) children, they did "concede" to the fact that vaccine-induced encephalopathy (brain disease) produced "permanent injury, including symptoms of autism and ultimately an ASD diagnosis."
Remove a few words from that sentence and you get "vaccine-induced autism." It seems fairly obvious, doesn't it? Whatever you choose to call it, the reality of what these families have been through is heartbreaking:
Parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors of both children testified they were developmentally normal, if not advanced for their age when they developed seizures, spiking fevers and other adverse reactions to their vaccines. According to these eyewitnesses, the children never fully recovered, and instead began losing vocabulary, eye contact and interest in others around them, all classic symptoms of regressive autism.
So how are we supposed to reconcile stories like these with study results claiming "no connection" between vaccines and autism? My kids luckily both made it through the toddler phase -- and their pediatrician-recommended schedule of vaccinations -- unscathed. But if I had to do it over again, with all of this information at hand, would I choose to vaccinate? I honestly don't know.
Are you having trouble deciding whether or not to vaccinate your child?
Image via helpingting/Flickr
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