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Introduction to Autism Information

The debate about whether vaccines can cause regressive autism began in 1985 with the publishing of the landmark book DPT: A Shot in the Dark by Harris Coulter and Barbara Loe Fisher. Among the more than 100 cases of DPT vaccine induced brain inflammation and immune system dysfunction detailed in the book were children who had developed regressive autism after suffering a brain inflammation and encephalopathy following DPT vaccination.

When Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which created a federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), the first awards for vaccine injury and death were given to children who had suffered a brain inflammation/encephalopathy after DPT vaccination and died or were left with a variety of brain and immune system problems such as medication resistant seizures, mental retardation, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD and other developmental delays. Since then, federal compensation has been awarded to children who developed brain inflammation/encephalopathy after DPT or DTaP vaccination and whose permanent disabilities include autistic behaviors. (In 2008, the federal government conceded that a girl who had received multiple vaccines on one day and regressed into autism was entitled to compensation for her injuries.)

In 1990, NVIC was contacted by California mother, Cindy Goldenberg, who explained how her bright healthy son became autistic following his MMR vaccine. Following many visits to different doctors in her attempt to find out what had happened to her son, multiple tests were performed to evaluate his immune function and revealed a high antibody count to rubella vaccine. After conducting research into the connection between rubella infection and autism, she contacted an immunologist and they put together a biomedical protocol to address his immune dysfunction which resulted in her son recovering from autism.
Since 1990, a growing number of physicians have acknowledged that development of regressive autism has multi-factorial causes and that there are many questions yet to be answered about the biological causes for and prevention and treatment of autism. What has become clear since the autism-vaccine connection was first reported in 1985 is that many children with regressive autism are getting better from biomedical and holistic health approaches to healing brain and immune system dysfunction. There are a number of autism support groups   which have been founded by parents since the late 1990’s, which are dedicated to helping families with children with autism.

If you suspect that your child’s autism or developmental delays are related to a vaccine or combination of vaccines, it is very important that you report a vaccine reaction to NVIC’s Vaccine Reaction Registry  which NVIC has operated since 1982. Information about vaccine reactions can help discover why some children develop health problems following vaccination and others do not.

A report should also be made to the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). The law requires doctor’s to report any serious problem within 30 days following vaccination. If your doctor refuses to report, NVIC can provide the forms for you to report the reaction yourself. 

We hope you will become a member of the National Vaccine Information Center, sign up for our weekly NVIC Vaccine E-Newsletter and help support our efforts to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education. Please keep in touch with us and let us know if you have questions or need more information.


March 4, 2009: “Vaccine Science: A Search for Truth” by Barbara Loe Fisher


Autism & Vaccines: U.S. Court of Claims

C SPAN - Autism Appropriations Committee with Sen. Harkin

CBS-TV News (2008) “Leading Doctor: Vaccines-Autism Worth Study”

CBS-TV “The Doctors” (2008) – Vaccines, Autism, Mandates

CNN-TV “700 Club” (2007) - Autism & Vaccines

CBS-TV Sunday Morning Show (2006) “A Shot in the Arm”

CNN-TV (2004) - "Preventing Vaccine Reactions"

2002 Hearing on Autism, U.S. House of Representatives, Government Reform Committee

ABC-TV News (2000) – Autism & MMR Vaccine

Fox-TV News (1999) - Multiple Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Disease Increases

ABC-TV "20/20" (1999) - Hepatitis B Vaccine & Brain Damage

Part 1
Part 2

NBC-TV “Today Show” (1997) – Multiple Vaccines & Chronic Disease Increases – Barbara Loe Fisher & Heal Halsey, M.D.

NBC-TV "Now Show" (1994) - DPT Vaccine Hot Lots, FDA & VAERS

Part 1
Part 2

CNN-TV "Sonya Live" (1990) - Barbara Loe Fisher &. Philip Brunell, M.D. "DPT Vaccine Brain Damage & Informed Consent"

Part 1
Part 2

ABC-TV "Regis Philbin Live (1986) Barbara Loe Fisher & Lou Cooper, M.D. "DPT Brain Damage & Whooping Cough”


DPT: A Shot in the Dark by Harris Coulter & Barbara Loe Fisher (1985, 1991)  The first book to associate vaccine induced brain inflammation and autism. A classic.

Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic by Barbara Loe Fisher (2008) https://www.nvic.org/resource-center/books.aspx More than 240 references making the case for an association between chronic inflammation that results from the complications of both vaccination and infectious diseases that can lead to seizures, learning disabilities, autism, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disorders and other chronic illness and disability.

Evidence of Harm by David Kirby (2006) The controversial, best selling book that presented evidence that mercury (thimerosal) preservatives in vaccines can cause autism.

Deadly Immunity by Robert J. Kennedy, Jr. This 2005 article in Rolling Stone magazine gave an overview of the thimerosal-vaccine controversy.  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/7395411/deadly_immunity/
Autism in the United States: A Perspective by F. Edward Yazbak, M.D. A 2003 article by a pediatrician and grandfather of a grandson with autism. https://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/Autism/autism-in-usa-perspective.aspx

Autism & Vaccines: A New Look at an Old Story  by Barbara Loe Fisher Written in 2000 Published in 2000 by NVIC, the first major review of the evidence that vaccines can cause brain inflammation and chronic neurological dysfunction that leads to regressive autism.

Selected References for Autism & Vaccines: A New Look at an Old Story https://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/Autism/specialreport.aspx

NVIC Statements, Press Releases & Petitions

2003: Vaccine Role in Autism Rise Should Trigger Studies
2001: NVIC Petition to FDA to Remove Thimerosal from Vaccines
          Denial of Petition by FDA – 4 Years Later in 2004
2000: Parents & Researchers Call for Action to End Gaps in Knowledge About Vaccines & Autism
1999: Calls for Research to Investigate Link Between Autism Increase and Vaccination
1998: Research Into Vaccines, Autism and Intestinal Disorders Published in The Lancet

Congressional Hearings:

2002: The Autism Epidemic: Is the NIH & CDC Response Adequate? A hearing before the Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives

National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and U.S. Court of Claims Omnibus Autism Cases Hearing

Continuing Use of Thimerosal in Vaccines Questioned


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