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NVIC Questions Interpretation of IOM Report on Autism and MMR Vaccine

"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."

Contact: 703-938-0342

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2001


The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit organization representing families with vaccine injured children have endorsed some of the conclusions of the report released yesterday by the newly created Institute of Medicine (IOM) Immunization Review Committee on the hypothesized link between MMR vaccine and autism. But the nation's largest
and oldest vaccine safety and informed consent advocacy group is questioning whether misinterpretation and misuse of the Committee's conclusions will compromise public health agency commitment to funding vaccine safety research.

The Institute of Medicine Committee concluded that "the evidence favors rejection of the causal relationship at the population level between MMR vaccine and autistic spectrum disorders" but also stated that "the proposed biological models linking MMR vaccination to autism spectrum disorders,
although far from established, are nevertheless not disproved." The Committee also called for further scientific research on the occurrence of autism in children following MMR vaccination.

"The Committee clearly acknowledged the biologic plausibility that MMR vaccine could be a co-factor in causing autism in some children. But the message this report may send out, in practical terms, is that there is absolutely no association between vaccination and autism and that the case is closed. It can be used by those in industry, government and medical
organizations with a vested interest in protecting the status quo." said NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher. "This would be tragic because it could fatally compromise the making of vaccine safety research a priority in our society and delay the search for identification of biological markers that could predict which children are more vulnerable to vaccine-induced neuroimmune dysfunction that can, in some, take the form of autism."

NVIC has long advocated that scientific research into vaccine-associated autism, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, asthma, and other chronic neuroimmune disorders explore the cumulative effects of multiple vaccines in genetically susceptible children. In the
past 30 years, as vaccine recommendations have increased routine childhood vaccinations to 37 doses of 11 different vaccines, there has been a dramatic rise in the numbers of chronically ill children in the US, including a doubling of those with learning disabilities, asthma, ADHD and diabetes.  Autism is now affecting 1 in 150 children.   "The conclusion of the IOM Committee that current scientific evidence favors rejection of a causal association between autism and MMR vaccine should not be taken out of context. There has been limited scientific research to date to investigate the relationship between vaccination and autism and until a more rigorous examination is conducted, the case is open, not closed," said Fisher.

The National Vaccine Information Center is a non-profit educational organization founded by parents of vaccine-injured children in 1982.

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