See Correction Below*:
The federal government has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the family of an autistic girl, marking the first award of compensation in a vaccine-autism case, CBS News reports.
The case involves Hannah Poling, now 11, of Athens, Ga. — described by her family as a normal toddler who regressed into autism after receiving vaccinations for nine different diseases in a single doctor’s visit in 2000.
In 2002, her parents filed a claim with the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a branch of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Under federal law, injury claims involving routinely administered vaccines are filed there rather than in the civil courts.
The government agreed to settle five years later, acknowledging that Hannah’s autism coincided with her receiving the vaccines, but not conceding that they caused her condition. It’s taken two years to reach an agreement on the amount of compensation.
No claim that a child’s autism was caused by vaccinations has ever won in trial. There are nearly 5,000 autism cases currently pending in vaccine court.
There have long been worries about connections between vaccinations and autism, though most experts say that credible studies have debunked a causal link.
*Our post on compensation for the family of a child who developed symptoms of autism after getting vaccinated against nine diseases on a single day understated the amount of the award. Hannah Poling and her family are to receive a lump sum of nearly $1.52 million, along with payments of more than $500,000 per year for Hannah’s medical care and living expenses. According to evidence in the case, Hannah had an underlying genetic condition, mitochondrial disorder, that may have predisposed her to regressing into autism when her body was overwhelmed by five vaccinations on a single visit.