14 Jan (SAN JOSE, CA) – Parents who claim their 10-year-old boy developed autism as a result of being injected with an MMR vaccine when he was a baby have been awarded more than £600,000 in a landmark court decision in America. Saeid and Parivash Mojabi claimed that son Ryan suffered a ‘severe and debilitating injury to his brain’ after being administered with two measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations in December, 2003 and in May the following year.
The ruling comes months after a judge in Italy awarded £140,000 to an Italian couple who said their son had autism after his routine childhood MMR inoculation.
The American decision – although it doesn’t lay fault for the child’s disability with the drug – fuels anti-MMR campaigners challenging the view of the majority of the medical profession that holds the vaccinations are safe.
The claim was against the US government which set up a Vaccine Programme. Although a judgement rules whether or not each case is eligible for compensation and the amount – in this case against the US Health Department – it does not apportion blame.
The San Jose, California, based family took their case to the US Court of Federal Claims in 2006.
Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Programme, parents can petition the US government for compensation for injuries or deaths allegedly caused by compulsory childhood vaccines.
A judgement in Ryan’s case, which was first filed in 2006, was made on December 13 last year by the Office of Special Masters set up by US Congress to decide on compensation claims. The defendant in the case was the US Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The damages payment takes into account the boy’s future loss of earnings because it’s unlikely he will be able to work.
In statements to the court, Ryan’s grandmother Paravaneh Shah-Mohammadi and his aunt Pooran Vahabi told how the boy appeared ‘lethargic’, ‘hardly responsive to noises and people around him,’and ‘unable to hold himself upright’ after having the first MMR vaccination.
The number of autism cases in the UK has soared over the past four decades. At the last count researchers found one in 64 British children have some kind of autistic condition.
In the Eighties, only four in every 10,000 children showed any signs of autism.
The Department of Health and NHS doctors insist that better diagnosis of autism and environmental factors are responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of cases and dismissed MMR vaccinations as a cause.
No link between the jabs and autism has been found in the British courts.
In America, nearly 5,000 families blame the MMR injection for causing their children’s autism.
In 2008, a girl called Hannah Poling was awarded £1 million damages by the US government when a court ruled that receiving nine vaccines in one day, including the MMR, had caused her autistic condition.
But the court said that Hannah had an underlying cell disorder, mitochondria, which had been aggravated by the vaccinations and manifested itself as autism.
In Ryan’s case, Chief Special Master Patricia Campbell-Smith decided his family was eligible for damages under the US government’s Vaccine Programme.