Today a federal court is scheduled to start hearing a case
that will for the second time this year have parents telling their stories of
how their children developed autism after be vaccinated with vaccines containing
the controversial compound thiomersal. The case focuses on two 10-year-old boys
from Portland, Oregon and aims to convince the court that thimerosal containing
vaccines by themselves can cause autism.
Lawyers for these families maintain that the boys were
developing normally until they were exposed to vaccines containing thimerosal,
a preservative containing mercury. After receiving these vaccinations, the
attorneys say, the boys began to show symptoms of autism — a developmental
disability characterized by difficulty in communicating and interacting with
Most experts do not believe that link between thimerosal
containing vaccines and autism exists. A 2004 panel commissioned by the
Institute of Medicine, concluded that there was no credible evidence that
suggest a link exists; however, since 2001 most vaccine makers have removed the
compound from their vaccines over fears that it may cause autism.
If the attorneys representing the families can prove that it
is more likely than not that the vaccines caused the boys’ injuries, the
families could receive some much needed compensation. Whichever way the case is
decided it will likely be met with appeal soon after. It may be several months
before we see a final decision in the case.