I’m sure you’ve heard anti-vaccinationists claiming recently that the government conceded that vaccines cause autism. Of course, they did no such thing. As Orac wrote in David Kirby and the government "concession that vaccines cause autism": The incredible shrinking causation claim, the government merely conceded that vaccinations may have aggravated a child’s underlying mitochondrial disorder – with some of the child’s symptoms being similar to autism. This doesn’t mean the child is autistic, or that autism is caused by vaccines. Also, the “may have” rider tells us merely that the government chose to settle the case rather than go the prolonged and expensive route of a disputed court case. Since we know that (a) vaccines do occasionally harm a small number of patients, and (b) it clearly benefits the majority that we continuing vaccinating, it is entirely sensible and ethical to compensate possible victims the few times this happens. Such facts haven’t stopped bigots such as David “the debate will never be over” Kirby and his ilk.
Anyway, others have deconstructed this case much better than I. If you want to know the facts on this case, Orac has a post up with some of the best links covering this vaccine injury case / mercury / autism story, including posts of his own as well as posts from Steven Novella, Kevin Leitch and others.