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Did CDC Conspire to Hide Vaccine Risk?

'Simpsonwood Conspiracy' Claims Debunked; Concerns Remain

Thimerosal and Autism continued...

Since the Clements review, studies have found no decrease in autism since thimerosal was removed from routine childhood vaccines.

After an exhaustive review of 1,284 scientific studies and the testimony of 19 experts, the U.S. vaccine court in 2010 ruled that the hypothesis linking thimerosal to autism has no basis in fact. It means that U.S. courts will no longer consider injury claims based on thimerosal in vaccines. This applies to all pending and future cases.

Although a brief Google search will turn up groups that remain convinced thimerosal somehow causes autism, the world’s scientific community has moved on.

Bernard -- who spoke at the June 2000 ACIP meeting -- feels that the research community's response to the warning signal reported by Verstraeten has been inadequate. Her point of view is that researchers have tried harder to disprove a link between thimerosal and autism than to find out what really is causing autism.

"One of the big gripes we have is there is this self-congratulation because the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks," Bernard says. "But we could do a lot better on decreasing the risks. It is not sufficient that the benefits outweigh the risks -- you can't be so attentive to the benefit side of the equation and not to the risk side. Our point is there are many steps that can be taken to making the vaccine program safer."

Offit's gripe is with those who forget that vaccine researchers are parents, too.

"My basis is, 'Would I give this to my own children?' This is not an us-versus-them situation," he says. "To see this as a conspiracy is wrong. What do you get from that cynicism? Outbreaks of whooping cough and measles? …. There is an instinct we can appeal to -- caring for each other."

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