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News of the Day ... In Perspective

06/15/2006

American Academy of Pediatrics fights efforts to ban thimerosal

In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Public Health Service recommended the removal of thimerosal from vaccines intended for American children.

In the past two years, state chapters of AAP have been extremely active in efforts to block state legislation to ban the use of thimerosal in pediatric vaccines—even though most vaccines are available in a reduced-thimerosal or thimerosal-free formulation. All pediatric vaccines in the UK are free of this preservative, and it has been banned in Scandinavia for years.

Many Americans simply do not believe the CDC’s assertions that injected mercury is safe, especially as pregnant women are advised to avoid eating tuna wraps.

States that currently ban thimerosal in vaccines are California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New York, and Washington. But even before the law was enacted in Illinois, the Illinois chapter of the AAP had planned an exemption. In its view, the single gravest issue is the potential unavailability of enough thimerosal-free influenza vaccine for infants and young children. The AAP has wholeheartedly endorsed the CDC recommendation to administer influenza vaccine yearly to healthy infants and young children.

Strangely, the Illinois Department of Public Health failed to notify physicians of the change in the vaccine laws. As shown by documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, it managed to mandate the continued use of mercury-containing vaccine for 18 months after the deadline in the law, by “documenting” a shortage of a vaccine that was actually available in surplus.

Drs. F. Edward Yazbak and David M. Ayoub conclude: “Individuals and organizations requesting the removal of thimerosal from vaccines and their scientific advisors appear to be primarily interested in the welfare of children. It is not clear what their opponents’ ulterior motives are” (Redflagsdaily.com 4/19/06).

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