Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, No They Don’t

At the end of last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld an earlier ruling in which a lower court rejected a connection between vaccines and autism.  

The case, Cedillo v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, was the first of a number of test cases heard by special masters for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in 2007. 16-year-old Michelle Cedillo has autism, intellectual disability, and other diagnoses; her parents, Theresa and Michael Cedillo, had sought compensation from a federal fund, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Theirs was one of some 4,800 claims filed by parents of autistic children who asserted that their child’s autism was caused by the U.S. government’s vaccine program. All of these test case claims have been rejected.

As noted in Disability Scoop, Special Master George L. Hastings, Jr., wrote last year that ‘”Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.”‘ Last week’s judgment by the appeals court further stated that Judge Hastings’ ruling was ‘rationally supported by the evidence, well-articulated and reasonable.’ (See here for more on the 2009 ruling that parents of autistic children are not entitled to compensation for their claims that certain vaccines caused their child to be come autistic.)

I’m with what my friend Kevin Leitch posted on Left Brain/Right Brain about the rejection of the Cedillos’ appeal:

Nobody should take any pleasure from this decision. If the Cedillo’s happen to read this I would urge them to step away from the quackery. It is doing nobody any good.

Indeed, it is not. 

End of story.

I say the best thing to do on the subject of vaccines and autism is to let the whole thing go and get on with the very involving work of advocating for more and betters services, programs and supports for autistic individuals, especially for teenagers, young adults, and adults. 

For the past decade, the notion that vaccines might in some way contribute to a child becoming autistic has occupied quite a bit of time and energy in the autism community and among autism advocates. With a new school year about to begin for my son Charlie and many other children, may the focus on discussions about autism shift more and more to being about how we can best help Charlie and many others prepare (in school and as long as they may need) for the rest of their lives and how we can better change ourselves, to make the world a better and more accommodating place.

Photo by stevendepolo.


Marilyn J L.
Marilyn J L.5 years ago

Let's go back to the science, folks. The initial "study" connecting vaccines with autism has been totally discredited as a ploy in which the researcher published false "results" in order to gain great monetary reward. The journal which published it has since retracted the article. The researcher has been severely reprimanded and is no longer provided with funds to conduct his brand of "research." And legitimate study after study has determined no connection between vaccines and autism.

Couple that with the good vaccines have done in reducing incidence of disease and there is no reason not to have a child vaccinated. I grew up when mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and even smallpox were very real threats. These are no wimpy diseases! They cause severe and irreparable harm. All I can think is that now that these diseases are either virtually eliminated and/or are under control -- the continued absence of these diseases have lulled new parents to their dangers. These are not diseases you get and hope for the best. Been there, did that, not healthy!

You don't allow your child to play in traffic, why would you allow your child to be exposed without protection to these diseases?

April L.
April L.5 years ago

@Kristina continued...

Your tunnel vision with the whole vaccines and autism thing amazes me. It’s a mantra with you. “Vaccines don’t cause autism.” You are missing the big picture. You can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Vaccines cause damage, neurological, auto-immune or otherwise. You are right. Vaccines don’t cause ‘autism’. You are misleading your readers, though, when you try to make them believe that vaccines do not damage children

April L.
April L.5 years ago

The problem is that ‘autism’ now is a huge spectrum. Almost anyone can be labeled as autistic. Speech delay? Autism. Sensory issues? Autism. Cognitive delays? Autism. Poor eye contact? Autism. And the list goes on, you get the idea. In reality, these symptoms are occurring due to underdeveloped pathways in the brain. Why would these pathways be underdeveloped? The answer could be one in a thousand possibilities, with vaccines being one of them. The human brain isn’t a finished product at birth. Axon growth and myelination occur very rapidly during the first two years of life. Ironically, this is exactly the same time period in which most vaccines are given to children. This process is very important to ensure that messages are transmitted smoothly within the brain, and is not entirely complete until sometime during adolescence. Vaccine ingredients can absolutely get in the way of the myelination process and development of pathways in the brain, resulting in difficulties in development for the child.

You call out for more services for your son, while blasting all of the energy going into the possible vaccine/autism link. If you ask me, that’s not quite fair to all of the mothers of children out there who know their own kids better than you, and truly believe vaccines changed their child. Of course there should be funds and effort going into investigating this link of vaccines and neurological damage, these mothers and THEIR children deserve it.

April L.
April L.5 years ago

@Kristina Chew...I have been away from the Care2 boards for quite some time now and decided to pop in and see what topics you've been posting about. I was in no way surprised when I found this post of yours. However, I am a little confused. After all this time of reading what you write, I am aware of the following:
*Your son has autism
*You often post about the lack of needed services for his care
*Every few weeks, you post about the relationship, perceived or otherwise, between vaccines and autism.

Your being the mother of an autistic child does not make you an authority on a possible vaccine/autism connection. Your opinion is just that...only an opinion. It doesn't matter if you are a mother of no one, a mother of an NT child, or the mother of an autistic child...your opinion is yours and yours alone. You may not believe your son's autism was triggered by a vaccine or vaccine combo, and maybe it wasn't. Maybe your son was simply born that way. But there are plenty of other mothers with children similar to your own, who know their children changed after a vaccination. Maybe the change vaccines cause in children isn't the "autism" you speak of in your postings. Maybe vaccines just cause good old-fashioned neurological damage. The vaccine inserts themselves state this kind of damage is a possibility, but people like you swear it never happens. Really?

Kait Madison
Kaitlen Madison5 years ago

I have worked with childred and adults with disabilities and autism.for about 4 years now. i have seen no link to vaccinating a child and autism or any disablitiy or that rather . i have seen CP happen because of a doctors screw up many times. I have seen MR happen because a mom or dad did to many drugs or drank to much . I would much rather have my child vaccinated then take a chance at them having some of those diease that they could have .

jane richmond
jane richmond5 years ago

Let us concentrate on how to get all children on as level a playing field as possible. By this I mean make services available to children as the need appears be it help with speech,reading,writing or math. If a child needs help it should not take the parents months to get the help they seek. Finding the cause of all diseases would be perfect however we do not live in a perfect world.

Christina B.
Christina Blue5 years ago

I have and will stay away from vaccines period!

Melissa Mcauliffe

As I continue to follow the comedy of errors and horrors, I realize that people will do whatever they feel fits their own case. I for one have not vaccinated my daughters. I believe that the 20+ vaccines they impose upon infants is too much too soon. While I have at age 8 finally succumbed to vaccinating my daughters with the dpt because I can't get them the tetanus vaccine until they are 11, I still remain resolute in my decision not to vaccinate them with the over abundance of "chosen" "required" shots. They have had chickenpox after I had shingles, while still infants. It was uncomfortable, but tolerable and I'm sure they have immunity. It's hard to say what will happen next. Many studies still point to the overload with "preservatives" that really is the culprit causing learning disabilities, autism. I noticed my kids got fevers and lethargy after their vaccines. I would never put an infant through so many shots.

Bennett F.
Bennett F.5 years ago

Nobody should take any pleasure from this decision. If the Cedillo’s happen to read this I would urge them to step away from the quackery. It is doing nobody any good.

Olga Blackburn
Olga Blackburn5 years ago