A special court that will pit scientists against activists in the debate over whether vaccines have caused autism in many children begins hearings today with the first test case, involving a 12-year-old Arizona girl.Although science has weighed in heavily on the question - with strong evidence that vaccines are not linked to the disease - a very vocal group of people remains unconvinced.
More than 4,800 cases are pending, filed by parents who believe their children have autism that was caused by vaccines. The little-known US Court of Federal Claims has set up an omnibus hearing in Washington, DC, with the first case expected to last three weeks.
The parents are seeking payment under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault system that has a $US2.5 billion ($2.9 billion) fund built up from a 75-cent-per-dose tax on vaccines.
I don't pretend to have any special medical knowledge, so I will link both sides on the thimerosal debate: Robert Kennedy, Jr. pointing to causation and suspected cover up and Arthur Allen on why thimerosal is safe in his opinion.