Towards the end of the Bush Administration, and in response to probing questions from an investigative journalist who, at the time, was working for CBS News, the U.S. government admitted that some vaccines were seriously harming children.
As noted in an email, the reporter, Sharyl Attkisson — whose recent reporting about what really happened in Benghazi won’t make the current administration happy or comfortable — got a government official to essentially admit that vaccines had hurt enough children over a 10-year period for compensation to be warranted.
In a May 5, 2008, email to Tina Cheatham, who was, at the time, an employee with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, Attkisson asked, “How many encephalopathy-related cases has compensation been paid on?” and she provided some background for her question.
The U.S. government compensates Americans for vaccine-related damages through a fund known as the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Implemented in 1988, according to the program’s website, the program grew out of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.
A compensatory fund, but no admission of harm
“The VICP was established to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines,” the site says, describing the program. “The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines.”
At the time of the 2008 email, more than 2,100 families and individuals had been compensated.
Attkisson provided similar background in her email to Cheatham, asking a series of three questions. The first: “How many vaccine court cases has the government compensated, been ordered to compensate, and/or agreed to compensate in which a vaccine-injured child ended up with and/or claimed autism and/or autistic symptoms? (We know of a number of cases, but have been told it is not a complete list.)”
The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.
Some children who have been compensated for vaccine injuries may have shown signs of autism before the decision to compensate, or may ultimately end up with autism or autistic symptoms, but we do not track cases on this basis. [Emphasis added]
Secondly, Attkisson asked, “Is the government currently conducting research on the pending vaccine court autism plaintiffs to see if there are commonalities, patterns of pre-existing conditions or other patterns of medical and/or genetic factors that could play a role, such as in the Polling [sp] case?”
Attkisson was referencing the case of 9-year-old Hannah Poling, who, according to the Vaccination Risk Awareness Network, was injected with nine vaccines in one day, then began “exhibiting the repetitive behaviors and social withdrawal that typifies autism.”
“Something happened after the vaccines,” said her mother, Terry Poling, a registered nurse and an attorney. “She just deteriorated and never came back.”
Cheatham said that the government had no response to the Poling case but did say, in part, “Over time, we may learn more about patterns of pre-existing conditions and the role vaccines play, if any, in their progression.”
Finally, Attkission stated, “Several high ranking government health officials including Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Gerberding have been claiming they did not know of the Polling [sp] case until the media began reporting on it, and still have not seen the medical files. This implies that the nation’s top health officials are not apprised of the findings and cases in vaccine court.
“Is this correct? And has it always been the case?”
Cheatham replied, in part:
CDC and NIH, along with other agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the scientists and health professionals involved in the nation’s immunization programs, do regularly share information and collaborate together on the wide variety of issues surrounding vaccines and vaccination. In their respective roles, Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Gerberding comment frequently on the safety and efficacy of vaccination.
Government provides compensation but doesn’t track the causes?
“[T]here’s not much difference in the medical history and outcomes for children that were compensated for ‘encephalopathy’ versus ‘seizures.’ Those compensated for encephalopathy often had seizures as part of their clinical picture, and vice versa,” Cheatham said.
“Certain injuries are presumed to have been caused or aggravated by the vaccine, and are on a table of injuries…. Injury cases not included on the current table also can be compensated if there is sufficient proof that they were caused by the vaccine,” she continued.
That is, except for autism.
In the end, what all this means is that the government sets up a compensatory mechanism for families and individuals harmed by vaccines, especially for encephalopathy and seizures (often caused by brain damage), but it doesn’t track cases on that basis, so there is no “proof” of the vaccine-autism condition.
Sleight of hand, anyone?