Girl's case reignites autism-vaccine debate
Officials with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scrambled Thursday to reassure the public that childhood vaccines...
The Baltimore Sun
Officials with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scrambled Thursday to reassure the public that childhood vaccines are safe after news spread of another agency acknowledging a link between a child's autism and the shots she received as a toddler.
"Our message to parents is that immunization is lifesaving," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC's director. "There's nothing changed."
Over the years, despite a small group of parents who insist otherwise, studies have shown no credible link between vaccines and autism.
Thursday, the parents of Hannah Poling, now 9, took their case public, sharing news that federal health officials have conceded that a series of vaccines she got when she was 19 months old led to her diagnosis of autism.
That concession — believed to be the first of its kind — makes her eligible for money from a federal vaccine-injury fund.
Many experts say Hannah's case is unique, and that her rare condition led to a rare consequence. They say her case should not be extrapolated to the thousands of other autistic children whose parents believe they were harmed by the vaccines.
"This is not an admission that vaccines cause autism," said Dr. Neal Halsey, of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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