Autism Vaccine Litigation Story
As many of you may be aware from my recent articles, we participated in the autism omnibus litigation before the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. After ten years of litigation, we are no closer to an answer as to whether vaccines caused Joey's autism. If you would like to read our story, here are the links.
Vaccine Litigation - Part 1
Vaccine Litigation - Part 2
Vaccine Litigation - The End
Because the VICP never allowed all of our information into the omnibus proceeding and never allowed us to look at the documents hidden in Merck's files, we will never know if there is a link between the thimerosol (mercury) in vaccines and Joey's autism.
By 1998, the government had required that thimerosol be removed from all vaccines for children. Unfortunately, the pediatricians had stockpiles of the old vaccines and they used up the stocks they had before restocking their shelves. Which means that although Joey was born at the end of 1998, he received multiple shots in his first six months of life which contained the mercury preservative. Take away from this what you will, but the steep rise in autism diagnoses seemed to coincide directly with the increase in the number of shots the government mandated that our children receive.
Now it is all over television advertising that if you took an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy, your child might have developed autism because of this. I took a low dose of prozac during the second half of my pregnancy. The attorney I was in touch with about this possibility was only looking for cases where the mother took the medication during the first trimester and I'm pretty sure that I was not in that category. But I will always wonder if it is my fault that Joey has autism because I needed to medicate my depression.
Either way, whether it was the vaccines or the prozac, I wonder how I could have done better by my child. The number of parents who are not vaccinating is growing, along with reoccurrences of some of the diseases the vaccines are meant to protect our children against.
I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-mercury in vaccines. And I am very glad that my children have had all of their federally mandated vaccines now. I worry for my own children when they begin to have kids of their own and have to decide on this issue, but I feel a little better knowing they took the mercury out of the vaccines (since they require so many vaccines on such a tiny little body).
It's been a long road down the litigation trail and we did not come out with any definitive findings. We will never know why Joey is autistic. We can only hope that as time goes by, life gets easier for him to navigate. He is a bright, sweet, loving child with trouble focusing and following directions. His social life is pretty much his Wii, which saddens me greatly. But I guess that's not so unusual these days anyway.
By the way, the flu shot still contains thimerosol. You can get a thimerosol free "flu mist' vaccine as an alternative, if this is a concern to you.