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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Feds Rescind Congressionally Mandated Vaccine Research

For Immediate Release:
January 17, 2009

Rita Shreffler, NAA (Nixa, MO) 417-818-9030
Wendy Fournier, NAA (Portsmouth, RI) 401-835-5828

Feds Rescind Congressionally Mandated Vaccine Research
Advocates Demand Conflict-Free Vac
cine Safety Studies

Washington, DC – In an unprecedented move on Wednesday, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) removed previously approved vaccine safety research from the Strategic Plan for Autism Research objectives. With apparent backing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) representation, Committee chair and NIMH director Tom Insel implied that vaccine research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would constitute a conflict given the involvement of Health and Human Services with ongoing autism cases filed in federal vaccine court. The committee's action is in direct opposition to the majority of its public members who support vaccine research, and to the Congressional directive of the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (CAA) which specifically called for research into “potential links between vaccines, vaccine components, and autism spectrum disorder.”

In addition to the CAA's mandate for vaccine research, the legislation also called for the establishment of key research activities to arrive from “meaningful public involvement and advice” through the IACC which includes both government and private representatives.

“Ignoring the Congressional mandate for investigation into links between vaccines and the development of autism is a slap in the face to both Congress and the citizens of this country,” said National Autism Association board chair and parent Lori McIlwain. “Even the most basic studies comparing health outcomes in vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated populations are consistently ignored despite increasing support for them from legislators, physicians, and parents.”

“Dr. Insel's observation that the NIH is incapable of conducting conflict-free research supports what a growing number of parents believe,” commented Ms. McIlwain. “While the motivation for refusing to allow this critical research to go forward is likely more related to fear of what such studies would reveal, it's clear that the system managing our vaccine program and vaccine safety issues is corrupt beyond repair and needs a complete overhaul.”

In 2006, US Senators Ted Kennedy, Mike Enzi, and Chris Dodd agreed that the potential link between vaccines and autism warranted further study. “I want to be clear that, for the purposes of biomedical research, no research avenue should be eliminated, including biomedical research examining potential links between vaccines, vaccine components, and autism spectrum disorder,” stated Enzi.

Autism now affects 1 in 150 children. Last week researchers from the University of California at Davis concluded the dramatic rise in autism cases since 1990 cannot be blamed on population increases or the way the disability is classified or diagnosed.

The study's authors, from the university's MIND Institute, called for a switch in research emphasis from a genetic cause to environmental triggers including chemicals, medications, fertility treatments and childhood vaccines.

“It's no wonder parents around the country are questioning vaccines when government agencies refuse to investigate legitimate vaccine safety concerns,” said Ms. McIlwain.

For more information about autism, please visit www.nationalautism.org.

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