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Court says thimerosal did not cause autism

March 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A federal court has ruled that the vaccine additive thimerosal does not cause autism.For 54 years, Dr. Ralph Salimpour has been giving out vaccinations. He has seen parent sentiment toward childhood vaccines change over the years.

A special branch of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, also known as the vaccine court, concluded there is no evidence to prove the preservative thimerosal causes autism in children.

"The thimerosal in the vaccine is so little, if any, that it is not going to cause any problem," said Dr. Salimpour.

Despite several key studies that have also failed to show a connection, many parents of children with autism are still not convinced. Tamara Mark believes childhood vaccines caused autism in both of her sons.

"You should give him his MMR, and I did. I'm not kidding in the next three months we saw such a decline," said Mark. "He went into his own world. We thought he'd gone deaf."

We spoke to her on the very same topic several weeks ago. Tamara says she started noticing changes in her oldest right after her doctor convinced her to give him the MMR vaccine.

And she's not alone, many celebrities including actress Jenny McCarthy have spoken out against vaccines.

After the court ruling McCarthy released the following statement:

"Vaccine makers are in a great position, there is no other industry on the planet where the U.S. government defends their product for them in court and funds the science to protect them."

Pediatricians who believe immunizations save lives hope parents on the fence about vaccines will change their minds.

"You may be one of those lucky ones whose child doesn't catch the disease although you haven't immunized her or him," said Dr. Salimpour. "But it is just like driving 120 mph on the freeway and getting away with it -- it's not safe."

In reaction to concerns of parents, thimerosal has been removed from most vaccines in the U.S. More than 5,500 claims have been filed by families seeking compensation through the government vaccine injury compensation program. Experts predict Friday's ruling will weigh heavy in future decisions.