"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."
for immediate release
May 13, 2003
VACCINE ROLE IN AUTISM RISE SHOULD TRIGGER STUDIES
SAY PARENT VACCINE SAFETY ADVOCATES
Reports from California and Government Reform Committee Released
Washington, D.C. - A report issued by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) today reveals that California's autism population nearly doubled between 1999 and 2002 and the population of individuals with full syndrome autism served by DDS increased by 634 percent between 1987 and 2002. This report of continuing dramatic increases of autism in children follows a report released by the US House Government Reform Committee on May 3 which criticized the use of mercury preservatives in vaccines and pointed out the relationship between the increasing numbers of vaccines American children have received in the past two decades and the unexplained rise in autism in the U.S.
"These two reports point to the need for methodologically sound, unbiased research into the relationship between autism and vaccines. The questions about why so many of our healthy children are regressing after vaccination and becoming chronically ill, disabled children must be addressed by government, industry and medicine in a credible way or parents are going to continue to lose faith in the integrity of the mass vaccination system," said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).
The California autism figures did not include children less than three years of age; those with other autistic spectrum disorders (ASD); those who have not entered California's voluntary developmental services system; or those who are suspected of having autism but have not yet been diagnosed. Rick Rollens, father of an autistic son and co-founder of UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, which is independently investigating the potential causes of autism increases, said "We now know that genes alone cannot create an autism epidemic and clearly there are other environmental factors, including vaccines, involved."
The US Government Reform Committee report pointed to inadequate research into the relationship between autism and the widespread use of pediatric mercury-containing vaccines and criticized the FDA and CDC for not taking aggressive enough steps to remove mercury from vaccines. At the May 3 press conference in Chicago where the report was released, former Committee chair Congressman Dan Burton said he believed there were too many conflicts of interest in the vaccine research, development, regulation and policymaking roles of federal health agencies and the influence of vaccine manufacturers on federal health agency decisions regarding vaccines.
For more information on the California report and the M.I.N.D. Institute, go to www.dds.ca.gov/autism and www.mindinstitute.org. For more information on the US Government Reform Committee report go to http://www.house.gov/burton. For more information on NVIC, a non-profit educational organization founded by parents of vaccine injured children in 1982, go to www.nvic.org.