A special federal court ruled Friday that there is not enough evidence to support a link between childhood vaccines and autism in three separate cases, CNN reported.
Debate has raged over whether routine childhood vaccines containing a mercury preservative, thimerosal, might help trigger autism. Thousands of parents have sought compensation from the Department of Health and Human Services' Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, set up to compensate people harmed by vaccines. At the same time, a number of rigorous studies have found no connection between pediatric shots and autism.
The current three cases were submitted by parents who claimed that vaccines containing thimerosol caused or contributed to their child's autism spectrum disorder.
Early in 2009, another federal court ruled out any such connection because of lack of evidence.
However, in a prior well-publicized case involving Hannah Poling, a child with autism, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program found in 2007 that shots the girl received when a toddler did "significantly aggravate" some underlying condition that may have predisposed her to autism, CNN said.
The Program's decision to compensate was seen as vindication of the vaccines' link to their daughter's condition, the Polings said at the time.