WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A special court in Washington ruled Thursday that a common measles vaccine is not responsible for causing children's autism.
In its ruling, the vaccine court at the U.S. Justice Department called the claims made by nearly 5,000 families with autistic children linking the vaccine and autism "speculative and unpersuasive," Attorney At Law reported. The families were seeking financial compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The court held the families failed to establish that the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella caused their children's autism. For their claims to prevail, the families had to demonstrate that more likely than not their children's neurological condition was related directly to the measles-mumps-rubella shots the children received.
The court, citing scientific research showing no risk of autism from vaccines, concluded "the weight of scientific research and authority" was "simply more persuasive on nearly every point in contention."
While the court dismissed the claims of a link between a the MMR vaccine and autism, other cases are pending that allege a link between autism and a chemical preservative used in vaccines, the publication said.
Thimerosal, which contains mercury, has been used in vaccines since the 1930s. Recent studies linking its use to autism in children prompted a reduction in the numbers of vaccines with thimerosal.
While not ruling on the thimerosal cases, the court did say in its ruling, "the petitioners have failed to demonstrate that thimerosal-containing vaccines can contribute to causing immune dysfunction."