Over the past few years, Italian courts have rule several times on the claims that there is a vaccine-autism link. As a result, I have written about a few of those cases, starting in 2012, where an Italian provincial court rejected all of the scientific evidence, and accepted Mr. Andy Wakefield’s fraudulent work as a basis of the decision.
Some individuals created a manufactroversy out of this ruling about the vaccine-autism link. But let’s be clear about one point – courts are not structured nor charged with rejecting the scientific consensus, unless a case could be made of massive fraud. Courts make decisions based on the facts presented (science uncovers facts) and the law. Moreover, courts are highly biased, and they often rely on emotional arguments.
On February 2015, an Italian Court of Appeals overturned the provincial court decision. During the proceedings, an expert witness for the Italian Department of health said:
[infobox icon=”quote-left”]In the medical history of the child there is not an objective temporal correlation between the gradual emergence of autistic disorders and the MMR vaccine. There is only the fact that the two events occur one before the other, but as shown, this is not sufficient to relate the two events .[/infobox]
Recently, the Italian Court of Cassation (Italy’s Supreme Court) ruled the vaccines do not cause autism. As far as we know, this is actually a separate case, unrelated to the provincial court case mentioned above.
Professor Rubinstein-Reiss is translating and reviewing the case. She will post a comprehensive review of the ruling here once the translation and review is completed. Hence, please stay tuned for her thorough review.
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- As far as I know, there are no credible studies that actually support a link between vaccines and autism. There are some fatally flawed published studies, for example, Dr. Hooker’s retracted study and Dr. Theresa Deisher’s problematic work. Additional discussions can be found here, here, and here.
- There are several recent large scale reviews that highlight the lack of such a link. In addition, other discussions can be found here and here.
- Andrew Wakefield is not a reliable source on anything related to vaccines, given his history. Furthermore, he has a history of serious ethical violations, of research fraud, and of misrepresenting evidence in his self-justificatory book (pdf), Callous Disregard. In addition, his complaint to the Office of Research Integrity in the CDC, in connection with the so-called #CDCwhistleblower manufactroversy, has little merit.