WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court yesterday upheld a ruling that vaccines are not to blame for autism.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a decision last year by a special vaccine court, which concluded there is little if any evidence to support claims of a vaccine-autism link.
Scientists years ago reached that conclusion, but more than 5,500 families sought compensation through the government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Yesterday’s ruling came in the case of Michelle Cedillo of Yuma, Ariz., who is disabled with autism, inflammatory bowel disease, and other disorders that her parents have attributed to a measles vaccine given at 15 months.
In the 2009 ruling, Special Master Denise K. Vowell wrote that the evidence “is weak, contradictory, and unpersuasive. Sadly, the petitioners in this litigation have been the victims of bad science conducted to support litigation rather than to advance medical and scientific understanding’’ of autism.
In its ruling yesterday, the appeals panel said “we have carefully reviewed the decision of the special master and we find that it is rationally supported by the evidence, well-articulated, and reasonable. We, therefore, affirm the denial of the Cedillos’ petition for compensation.’’
Earlier this year the so-called vaccine court also concluded that the additive thimerosal is not to blame for autism, an added setback in a long-running battle by parents convinced there is a connection.