Donald Trump raised some hackles this week by asking Robert F. Kennedy, a prominent voice in the anti-vaccination community, to lead a commission on vaccine safety.
Trump’s transition team clarified that he is “exploring the possibility of forming a commission on Autism.”
Trump himself wrote on Twitter in March 2014:
Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2014
Vaccines do not cause autism, but here’s the thing — vaccines do injure kids. No doubt.
The side effects are much rarer than the diseases vaccines prevent, and no excuse for not vaccinating, but they can be misdiagnosed as autism in children. Fever-induced seizures and encephalopathy can cause brain damage, for example.
The government knows this, and so do vaccine manufacturers. In fact, $0.75 out of every vaccine purchased in America since 1986 went to a government program to compensate kids who are injured by vaccines. $1.9 billion accumulated in the last 10 years alone.
It’s called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), but not many people know about it. Less than 30% of claims are approved, so only a fraction of the fund is paid out.
Autism was a big deal with the VICP a few years ago. Nearly 6,000 claims were filed over vaccine-induced autism, mostly due to the MMR vaccine or other vaccines containing thimerosal (mercury).
So the VICP launched the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. Experts looked at three “test cases” and concluded that vaccines do not cause autism. All of the remaining 6,000 autism claims were rejected in 2010.
However, the VICP has compensated some kids with autism in recent years — but only if they had another diagnosis like vaccine-induced encephalopathy.
The VICP awarded $1.5 million to a girl named Hannah Polig in 2010. Two other children with autism were awarded millions of dollars from the VICP in 2013. In fact, VICP has compensated around 1,300 claims involving vaccine-induced brain damage over the last 20 years.
Source: The New Yorker