Anyone wishing to read the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism (2004) referenced in the CBS interview with former NIH Head Dr. Bernadine Healy can access it at the National Academies Press site. The document is 214 pages with hundreds of references to autism. Some comments in the Review:
At page 152:
Committee Conclusions and Recommendations
The committee concludes that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.
The committee concludes that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism.
Biological Mechanisms Conclusions
In the absence of experimental or human evidence that vaccination (either the MMR vaccine or the preservative thimerosal) affects metabolic, developmental, immune, or other physiological or molecular mechanisms that are causally related to the development of autism, the committee concludes that the hypotheses generated to date are theoretical only.
The committee concludes that because autism can be such a devastating disease, any speculation that links vaccines and autism means that this is a significant issue.
PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE RECOMMENDATIONS
The committee recommends a public health response that fully supports an array of vaccine safety activities. In addition the committee recommends that available funding for autism research be channeled to the most promising areas.
At this time, the committee does not recommend a policy review of the licensure of MMR vaccine or of the current schedule and recommendations for the administration of the MMR vaccine.
At this time, the committee does not recommend a policy review of the current schedule and recommendations for the administration of routine childhood vaccines based on hypotheses regarding thimerosal and autism.
Given the lack of direct evidence for a biological mechanism and the fact that all well-designed epidemiological studies provide evidence of no association between thimerosal and autism, the committee recommends that cost-benefit assessments regarding the use of thimerosal-containing versus thimerosal-free vaccines and other biological or pharmaceutical products, whether in the United States or other countries, should not include autism as a potential risk.