Vaccine Court Decision: thimerosal containing vaccines do not cause autism

12 Mar

The decisions are in for the second phase of the Omnibus Autism Proceedings–the “vaccine court” trials to determine if autism can be considered as a vaccine injury. The first set of decisions were handed down last year (those regarding the MMR as a causative agent). This set explored whether thimerosal, the mercury containing preservative formerly used in childhood vaccines, could cause autism.

The decisions are long, and I expect there to be much discussion. Below are the final paragraphs from the decisions. These are for the three “test cases”, the hearings held for three specific children who petitioned for compensation on the basis of autism as a vaccine injury. They are clear and decisive: the evidence does not support thimerosal containing vaccines as causing autism, in general or in these three children in specific.


Petitioners’ theory of vaccine-related causation is scientifically unsupportable. In the absence of a sound medical theory causally connecting William’s received vaccines to his autistic condition, the undersigned cannot find the proposed sequence of cause and effect to be logical or temporally appropriate. Having failed to satisfy their burden of proof under the articulated legal standard, petitioners cannot prevail on their claim of vaccine-related causation. Petitioners’ claim is dismissed, and the Clerk of the Court SHALL ENTER JUDGMENT accordingly.


Thus, I feel deep sympathy for the King family. Further, I find it unfortunate that my ruling in this case means that the Program will not be able to provide funds to assist this family, in caring for their child who suffers from a serious disorder. It is certainly my hope that our society will find ways to ensure that generous assistance is available to the families of all autistic children, regardless of the cause of their disorders. Such families must cope every day with tremendous challenges in caring for their autistic children, and all are deserving of sympathy and admiration. However, I must decide this case not on sentiment, but by analyzing the evidence. Congress designed the Program to compensate only the families of those individuals whose injuries or deaths can be linked causally, either by a Table Injury presumption or by a preponderance of “causation-in-fact” evidence, to a listed vaccine. In this case, the evidence advanced by the petitioners has fallen far short of demonstrating such a link. Accordingly,


Petitioners have not demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that Colin’s condition was either caused or significantly aggravated by his vaccinations. Thus, they have failed to establish entitlement to compensation and the petition for compensation is therefore DENIED. In the absence of a motion for review filed pursuant to RCFC, Appendix B, the clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.

10 Responses to “Vaccine Court Decision: thimerosal containing vaccines do not cause autism”

  1. Astrid March 12, 2010 at 22:35 #

    Of course, this court decision involves only one case. Another court could make a different decision in the case of another child, and the antivaccine crowd could still claim vaccines cause some forms of autism.

  2. Sullivan March 12, 2010 at 22:41 #


    You are correct, this is far from over. But–

    first, this decision involves three test cases, not just one.

    Second, this decision also took on the general question of whether thimerosal causes autism.

    Yes, there can be other arguments if/when they get data to support the idea that vaccine cause autism.

    The real question is–if they had data for another method (say, “too many too soon”) why didn’t they present it in court?

  3. Teresa C. March 12, 2010 at 23:04 #

    This is just more evidence of proof of collusion between the vaccine court and Big PHARMa! All you people do is deny the proof I see every day, every time I have to clean the poop off the wall and floor. I know what I know, and nothing will ever convince me otherwise!

  4. Sullivan March 12, 2010 at 23:07 #


    I assume that since your avatar is showing, you are intending this as clearly sarcasm and not as an impersonation.

  5. Teresa C. March 12, 2010 at 23:09 #

    I dunno, whatever. I was trying to be funny.

  6. daedalus2u March 12, 2010 at 23:10 #

    I suspect that this is the reason for the flurry of anti-vax activity against thimerosal and Dr Poul Thorsen, not Wakefield. My understanding is that the attornies get a heads-up before the verdict is published.

  7. Anne March 12, 2010 at 23:55 #

    Daedalus2u, I was thinking the same thing. The anti-vax bloggers had their posts ready to go on publication of the decisions. Regarding the Thorsen possible scandal, juicy as it may turn out to be, Special Master Hastings has already headed off any argument that casting doubt on the Hviid and Madsen epidemiological studies would make a difference.

    The petitioners argued that epidemiological studies weren’t suited to picking up the small percentage of autistic kids that, according to them, had a form of regressive autism resulting from their hypothesized inability to excrete mercury. In the King decision, Special Master Hastings said:

    “I have looked beyond the epidemiologic evidence to determine whether the overall evidence–i.e., medical opinion, circumstantial evidence, and other evidence considered as a whole–tips the balance even slightly in favor of a causation showing as to Jordan’s autism.

    This case, however, is not a close case. The overall weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners’ causation theories. The result of this case would be the same even if I totally ignored the epidemiologic evidence.”

    King v. HHS, p. 116, emphasis in original.

  8. Sullivan March 12, 2010 at 23:59 #


    I see that. I just want to head off any complaints by people who might want to accuse you of something you obviously weren’t doing (impersonation).

  9. Clay March 13, 2010 at 00:29 #

    Well, let’s hope that Teresa Cannoli doesn’t read this, or if she does, figures I saved her the effort of writing. 😉


  1. RSS agregator » Blog Archive » Tumultuous Week in the Vax World. - March 14, 2010

    […] Lastly, the next 3 Omibus Autism Proceeding test cases using the thimerosal causation theory were all denied. […]

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