Childhood vaccines are linked to autism - and here's $20m to prove it

Vaccines we give to our children are definitively linked to autism. A US court has this week awarded a family a payment of up to $20m as compensation for their daughter who suffered autism after she was given multiple vaccines, including the MMR. The parents of Hannah Poling, now a 13-year-old girl, will receive an immediate $1.5m compensation payment followed by annual sums of $500,000 to pay for her care. The award could easily reach $20m, say prosecutors. Hannah was a normal and healthy child until she was given five vaccinations, including the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot, in 2000. Her health declined rapidly and she developed fevers, stopped eating, didn’t respond to stimulus, and started to display symptoms of autism, her parents said. Although the US government accepted liability in 2007, the settlement figure has only recently been agreed. Pro-vaccine groups are quick to point out that Hannah’s is a special case, and that it doesn’t prove an MMR-autism link. They say that Hannah suffered from a rare mitochrondrial disorder that predisposed her to autism. The condition was the result of the vaccine, but was not caused by it, they say. However, there are around 4,800 other vaccine-damage cases waiting to be heard in US courts and, as Time magazine once suggested, it’s not unreasonable to assume that some of the other children could also have Hannah’s same underlying problem. (Source: CBS News, September 9, 2010).