JUST as the dispute over whether vaccines cause autism was dying down at last, a US government decision has added fresh fuel to the fire. Last week it emerged that the federal government is to compensate a couple who say that the regular childhood vaccines, given to their baby daughter in 2000, caused her to develop autism. Damages have not yet been set, but could exceed $1 million.
Significantly, the government's decision says nothing about whether vaccines cause autism. Instead, government lawyers concluded only that vaccines aggravated a pre-existing cellular disorder in the child, causing brain damage that included features of autism. Nonetheless, anti-vaccination campaigners are claiming vindication. "It's official," wrote one autism blogger. "The sky has fallen. The fat lady has sung. Pigs are flying."
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-Does this settlement undermine the studies put forth by the government showing no links between autism and the vaccines?
-Do you think this will cause other families to line up expecting payouts due to their children being affected by autism?
-Why do you think this payout occured if there is nothing to link the two together?