Commentary: There are benefits to vacinations

This editorial appeared in The Rock Hill Herald.

The bad news for parents of autistic children may be good news for many others: Vaccines don't cause autism.

The hopes of thousands of families hoping to win compensation from vaccine producers were dashed this month when a special federal court declared that vaccines aren't to blame for autism. The special masters who decided the case expressed sympathy for the families, but the rulings were blunt: There is little if any evidence to support claims of a vaccine-autism link.

This represented what is likely to be the fairest and least biased hearing parents are likely to have on this issue. The U.S. Court of Claims, known as "the people's court," is not set up like other courts. The families involved didn't have to prove that inoculations definitely caused autism, just that they probably did.

More than 5,500 claims have been filed by families seeking compensation. The recent rulings covered three test cases arguing that a combination of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine plus other shots triggered autism. The finding by the court not only stated that evidence did not support the claim but also that physicians involved with the plaintiffs misled families and were guilty "of gross medical misjudgment."

Even that harsh verdict probably will not convince parents of autistic children who firmly believe that vaccines cause the problem. Some, no doubt, will view this ruling as a cover-up of some kind.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Rock Hill Herald.