“You cannot hold the truth back forever. And when that dam breaks, the flood will wash away those who have suppressed these facts to the detriment of our kids. It is time for the piper to be paid.” Meryl Dorey: President of The Australian Vaccination Network Inc, May 10th, 2011
Around the first week of May a “major investigation” breakthrough was promised by USA lawyers and anti-vaccine identities acting for certain parents, supposedly claiming to have been compensated for vaccine induced autism. Reported irresponsibly here by FOX News , the much touted “proof” was proffered by a team headed by Mary Holland. Mary is co-author of Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children.
A document compiling these Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) data would “blow the lid off” the vaccine-autism controversy. The number of cases were rumoured to be 80 plus – not “hundreds, possibly thousands”, as Meryl Dorey claimed many days later on 102.9 KOFM – see below.
The release was due to happen on May 10th. From Lisa Jo Rudy writing for About.com;
“Findings on autism and the vaccine court to be released today”
Investigators from Pace Law School in New York will be joined by parents and children with autism to announce a groundbreaking study that strongly suggests a link between vaccines and autism on Tuesday, May 10 at 12:00 pm in front of the US Court of Claims (717 Madison Place in Washington DC).
The study, which was carried out using readily available, public government data, found that a substantial number of children who have been compensated for vaccine injury by the federal government have autism – more than three times the national prevalence.
However, as the government publicly denies a link between autism and vaccines and claims these individuals have been compensated for brain damage and seizures, of which autism is often a symptom, this study casts a serious doubt on previous findings by the government regarding vaccine safety. This is the first time this study is being unveiled.The investigators will be calling upon Congress to immediately investigate the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and plan to hold Congressional briefings.
We’ll return to Lisa Jo directly.
The USA National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the associated Act and Court, serve a vital purpose. The programme quite rightly compensates children who suffer permanent disability from vaccine reactions. It’s absolutely essential. We’re familiar with Wakefield’s fraud, the misconception that autism can be an immediate side effect from vaccination, that autism can be eventually “caused” by vaccination and of course the resulting drop in vaccine coverage as a result of these fears. But we are less familiar with the very real tragedies that effect vaccine injured families – albeit at extremely low rates.
There are no-fault compensation schemes in 19 countries. Australia lags behind somewhat. Germany began theirs in 1961. France 1963, Switzerland 1970, Denmark 1972 and our pals across the Tasman, New Zealand in 1978. A review of international programmes was published earlier this year by Looker and Kelly – doi:10.2471/BLT.10.081901.
At time of writing an editorial was published today, May 6th, online in the Medical Journal of Australia – eMJA. Published by Kelly, Looker and Isaacs it is entitled, A no-fault compensation scheme for serious adverse events attributed to vaccination. Referring to the WHO criteria for adverse events following immunisation – AEFI – it suggests our “enviable reputation” in this area could be improved by better monitoring and a no-fault compensation scheme.
Such a programme would offer much to silence the appalling manipulation of media outlets, spread of misinformation and the many characteristics of outright offence orchestrated by the anti-vaccination lobby. Immediately we see adverse events following immunisation. A favourite of Meryl Dorey of the discredited and misnamed Australian Vaccination Network when interviewed publically is to obfuscate the anti-vaccination stance yet insist vaccination “is not the same as immunisation”. Immunisation is only truly gained from having the disease, whilst vaccination is a pharmaceutical hoax, they argue.
Also in the habit of denying herd that immunity has any protective effect, the AVN would be pushed to explain the following from the MJA editorial.
Any person who is injured while helping to protect the community — for instance, by contributing to herd immunity, such that there are sufficiently many people immunised to prevent widespread disease transmission within the community — should not bear the consequences of injury alone. In essence, the community owes a debt of gratitude to that person.
However, as important as acknowledging vaccine related injuries do occur and deserve compensation is, we must be careful to place them in context. Risk-benefit ratio is the key here. One is far more likely to die or be maimed doing housework or changing a light globe than be injured at all by any vaccine.
Looking at the graph below, we see encephalitis effects children at a rate of 1 in 1000 – 5000 measles cases and 1 in 1 million MMR jabs. Meningitis is similar for MMR, but presents a 5000 times greater risk for measles cases. “Convulsions” are documented as RSD; Residual Seizure Disorder in the USA.
Source: The Encephalitis Society http://www.encephalitis.info/
Read page one here. Read page two here. Read the full document here.
The apparent “epidemic” claimed to be caused by the ethyl mercury containing vaccine preservative thimerosal, then the “number” of vaccines and now just vaccination itself (as each cause is shown to be wrong) is very likely due to diagnostic criteria.
A recent survey study in the UK, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, May 5th, used todays diagnostic criteria on adults. Of all new cases, not one knew they had autism. Using todays criteria, children present with 10 cases in 1000. Adults, 9.8 cases in 1000. This tells us volumes about exploitation of the fear factor by anti-vaccine lobbyists. Autism for most, conjures disturbing images. In fact since Autism Spectrum Disorder became accepted we saw the growth of many expressions including High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, and the decline of less pleasant terms such as “retarded”, “mental”, “slow”, “special”, “difficult” and so on.
This was summed up in the opening sentence of articles reporting on these findings: “Not a single person identified with autism or asperger’s syndrome during a community survey in England actually knew they had the condition, research led by the University of Leicester reveals.” See:
“Most adults with autism go undiagnosed” AlphaGalileo
“University of Leicester researchers present further evidence from first ever general population survey of autism in adulthood.” Disabled World
“Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults in the Community in England.” Archives of General Psychiatry – doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.38
Nonetheless, with a population approaching 310 million in the USA it is expected that the VICP will be required to pay no fault compensation for life time care of steadily increasing numbers of vaccine injured children. My guess with the Mary Holland team’s grandiose promises was that something unscrupulous was afoot and legitimate encephalitis cases were being exploited. Arguably this is true for certain elements – such as Age of Autism, The Australian Vaccination Network and Generation Rescue. Personally, I conclude that “autism-like symptoms” are no doubt tragic but do not conclusively prove causality of, or existing autism.
The other concern was use of phrases like “parents of children with autism who received compensation from VICP” would speak. But we need to see “children who received compensation from VICP because of their autism… [or] … as a result of developing autism”, before one can begin to accept any claimed causal link.
Back to Lisa Jo Rudy. On May 11th she wrote Update on vaccination court raises questions, noting that The Pace Law School had contacted her and asked about her previous article.
I just heard from a representative from the Public Relations department at Pace University School of Law. She wondered why a press release cited in my earlier blog would say that members of their law school had been involved with the investigation into and presentation of “Unanswered Questions From the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury,” when there was no such involvement in either the investigation or the presentation.
I did respond to Danielle Orsino, who sent out the press release, asking the question:
Were there cases in which the vaccine court awarded a settlement for damage that manifested itself as the symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder? Was the term “autism” ever used to describe the outcome of vaccine damage (eg, “the child suffered from neurological damage resulting in autism”)?
Danielle responded quickly, saying “The study strongly suggests a link between autism and vaccines. The study found that of those who had been compensated for brain damage due to vaccines, a much-higher-than-average number also had autism. The study makes an extremely strong case for the vaccine-autism connection, which is why the study’s authors are urging Congress to investigate the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.”
This response seems to suggest that the simple answer to my question is “no”.