Government award revives thimerosal controversy?

I’m not enough of a medical expert to know exactly what this means, but I’m certain thousands of parents around the country with autistic children are keenly interested.

Government Concedes Vaccine Injury Case

Government health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund.

Medical and legal experts say the narrow wording and circumstances probably make the case an exception — not a precedent for thousands of other pending claims.

The government “has not conceded that vaccines cause autism,” said Linda Renzi, the lawyer representing federal officials, who have consistently maintained that childhood shots are safe.

However, parents and advocates for autistic children see the case as a victory that may help certain others. Although the science on this is very limited, the girl’s disorder may be more common in autistic children than in healthy ones.

“It’s a beginning,” said Kevin Conway, a Boston lawyer representing more than 1,200 families with vaccine injury claims. “Each case is going to have to be proved on its individual merits. But it shows to me that the government has conceded that it’s biologically plausible for a vaccine to cause these injuries. They’ve never done it before.”

We’ve written about thimerosal and autism before, and while this settlement seems to settle nothing, it’s nonetheless intriguing. Official sources have persistently denied any relationship between autism and the chemical preservative used in some vaccines, so even given the narrow context of the finding, this award looks like a de facto acknowledgment that the book isn’t entirely closed on the issue.

Stay tuned.

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