by Barbara Loe Fisher
Ever since the historic National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan, federal health officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have fought most vaccine injury claims in the U.S. Court of Claims. Even so, special masters in the Court have awarded nearly $2 billion to vaccine victims since 1988. Over the years, there have been several awards quietly made to children, whose autistic behaviors began after DPT vaccine induced brain inflammation, but those awards were vigorously protested by DHHS officials who insisted that vaccines do not cause autism.
This week, however, the news is that DHHS officials have finally "conceded" that vaccines given in 2000 to a 19 month old boy with a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder did, in fact, cause brain inflammation that resulted in a spectrum of permanent brain dysfunction, including autistic behaviors. The child was given DTaP, HIB, MMR, Varicella and polio vaccines all at once and suffered classic vaccine reaction symptoms within 48 hours of the shots and subsequently regressed and was left with permanent disability, including autism.
The parents of the child, Dr. and Mrs. Jon Poling, participated in a press conference in Atlanta today, which was broadcast on CNN. The Poling's attorney for the case was NVIC Board member Cliff Shoemaker, who has represented the vaccine injured in the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) ever since it was created in 1986. Tonight the parents will appear on Larry King Live at 9 p.m. on CNN and there is an on-line poll on autism and vaccines on CNN's website. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains what he thinks the VICP award means.
On tonight's 5:30 p.m. WJLA-TV7 (ABC) News in Washington, D.C., Vicky Debold, PhD, RN speaks out about how her son regressed into autism after his 15 month vaccinations. Vicky's son, who received 7 live virus and killed bacterial vaccines on one day in 1998, suffered nearly identical reactions as the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Poling. During the interview, she said, "I did something stupid. I gave my son 7 vaccines on one day. " She went on to say "I regret this but I can't take it back." Like Terry Poling, who was formerly a pediatric intensive care nurse, Dr. Debold recalls that she was a pediatric ICU nurse and completely trusted the vaccine recommendations by the CDC and AAP. Both Terry and Vicky fully vaccinated their children. Vicky, who is on NVIC's Board, has served as NVIC's Director of Patient Safety for the past few years and has counseled many parents reporting vaccine reactions and regression into poor health to NVIC during the past few years. (View some of these reaction reports at http://vaccinememorial.org/)
For more information on the history of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and NVIC's long- held position regarding need for reform of the Act to make the system less adversarial and compensation less difficult to obtain for the vaccine injured, go to http://www.nvic.org/Loe_Fisher
"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has concluded the family of Hannah Poling of Athens is entitled to compensation from a federal vaccine injury fund, according to the text of a court document in the case. The amount of the family's award is still being determined. The language in the document does not establish a clear-cut vaccine- autism link. But it does say the government concluded that vaccines aggravated a rare underlying metabolic condition that resulted in a brain disorder "with features of autism spectrum disorder.".....Hannah requires one-on-one care at all times, said her mother, Terry Poling, a nurse and lawyer. The Polings described how Hannah was a normal, verbal toddler until she received several vaccines during a well-baby visit. Within 48 hours of the shots, she developed a high fever and inconsolable crying and refused to walk. She stopped sleeping through the night. Within three months after receiving the vaccine, she began showing signs of autism, including spinning and staring at lights and fans. For a while, she lost her ability to speak. Then, within six months after the shots, as the family came to grips with the likelihood that she was autistic, they turned to leading experts in neurology. "I had to know. My daughter didn't just suddenly develop autism for no reason," Terry Poling said." - Alison Young, Atlanta Journal Constitution (March 5, 2008) http://www.ajc.com/me tro/content/health/stories
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
In a move autism family advocates call unprecedented, federal health officials have concluded that childhood vaccines contributed to symptoms of the disorder in a 9-year-old Georgia girl. While government officials continue to maintain that vaccines don't cause autism, advocates say the recent settlement of the girl's injury case in a secretive federal vaccine court shows otherwise.