Feds won't warn parents about vaccine

  1. Feds won't warn parents about vaccine
    Contains mercury eliminated from other shots due to health concerns
    April 3, 2004
    2004 WorldNetDaily.com

    The government has decided not to warn parents a mercury-laced preservative virtually eliminated from other vaccines because of health concerns will be included in flu shots given to hundreds of thousands of infants and toddlers this fall.

    The decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend the shots with the preservative thimerosal - despite the pleas of parent activist groups - apparently conflicts with recent federal heath warnings about exposure to mercury, the Los Angeles Times reported.

    Thimerosal is about 50 percent ethyl Mercury, a potent neurotoxin that has been removed from other childhood vaccines.

    The CDC has added flu shots to its list of recommended vaccines for all young children.

    Mercury-free flu vaccines will be available, for about $4 more per shot, but if the CDC were to warn parents, it might create a shortage resulting in some children not being immunized, the Times said.

    The agency asserts, "The available scientific evidence has not shown thimerosal-containing vaccines to be harmful."

    Nevertheless, the CDC has ordered up to 2 million doses of thimerosal-free vaccine to make sure it meets the demand by health departments.
    CDC senior scientist Roger Bernier explained, though, that stating a preference for thimerosal-free vaccines "would drive the demand even more aggressively."

    That isn't necessary, he said, because there is no proof of harm - an assessment backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
    But parent advocates are fuming, according to the L.A. paper.

    Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, charges that by not advising parents, the government is "violating the precautionary principle which reminds doctors that, when in doubt, take an action which minimizes the risk of harm."

    Rep. David Weldon, R-Fla., said the CDC's actions constitute "medical malpractice."

    The congressman, a physician, plans to introduce a bill to ban thimerosal in childhood vaccines.

    Weldon said he would not allow his son to have the shot with mercury, the Times said, which is used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in vaccines.

    Thimerosal was the preservative of choice until 1999, when the U.S. Public Health Service and the academy of pediatrics called on drug firms to voluntarily remove it as a precaution.

    Some parent groups and researchers believe thimerosal has contributed to a sharp increase in reported rates of autism and other neurological disorders in children.

    Many scientists and vaccine makers insist, however, exposures are too low to have an effect and ethyl mercury can be more easily eliminated from the body than methyl mercury, which is produced by industrial emissions.

    But Boyd E. Haley, chairman of the department of chemistry at the University of Kentucky, believes it is "preposterous and ridiculous" for the government to warn about methyl mercury in fish but sanction injecting ethyl mercury into children.

    The CDC decision, which will be officially published later this month, is "unconscionable," Haley said, according to the Times. "If it were my grandson or my granddaughter, there's no way in hell you'd give them a vaccine containing thimerosal."

    Dr. Neal Halsey, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Times "it would make life much easier for everybody if there wasn't the thimerosal in the vaccines."
    But he added: "I personally am not concerned."

    Halsey, who sounded the alarm about thimerosal in 1999, contends the situation now is different. The 1999 appeal referred to immunizations of infants, up to 6 months old, while flu shots with thimerosal would deliver only a 25-microgram dose to children 6 months and older.

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  3. by   devi
    Personally, I haven't let my son get vaccines containing thimerosal in years. He is still missing a couple of vaccines because his doctor keeps promising to order the thimerosal-free ones. In fact, when he started kindergarten, I had to give the school a letter stating that there were medical or religious reasons that his immunizations were not current. I also had to agree to keep him out of school for at least 2 weeks if any illness he hasn't been vaccinated for (measles, etc.) infects any child in the school...for his own safety and theirs.

    I had no clue about thimerosal until my son was 4 years old and being evaluated for developmental disorders by a team of specialists. He came very close to being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (at the low end of the Autism spectrum), but they finally settled with a more general diagnosis pending further evaluation. They did, however, recommend thimerosal-free vaccines in the future because of a possible link between mercury and some autism-related disorders.

    That was the first and only time I've ever heard (first-hand) a physician question thimerosal. My son's own pediatrician acted like he thought I was crazy when I mentioned it and asked if he had thimerosal-free DPT vaccines. He tried to convince me it was okay and made me feel like such an idiot. He may be right, but the way I see it is...why take even the smallest chance when there's an alternative?
  4. by   crankyasanoldma
    I'm not a big fan of WorldNetDaily news- they have a pretty strong anti-government and ultra conservative bias that is not my flavor..JMHO.

    Anyway, the article danced all around the real issue about why thimerisol is in the news again and that is because of the Andrew Wakefield study. His study showed a link between vaccinations (primarily MMR and thimerisol) and autism. After everyone got all up in arms about it and started refusing vacs, it was revealed that Wakefield accepted study financing from a group of lawyers who were in line to profit from "vaccinations cause autism" lawsuits. This is a major ethics violation and cast doubt on Wakefield's work- so much doubt that many of Wakefield's co-authors and supporters had their names removed from the study work and other Wakefield associations. Even the Lancet (which published the origional study) responded by stating that had they known more about what Wakefield was up to, they would have never published the study in the first place. He was required to make public his cozy lawyer relationship but neglected to reveal it at publishing time, which he did not do.

    Scientists should always reveal ethical issues, and their studies should always be peer reviewed. Many balls were dropped in this case and Wakefield's work has not survived peer review. That's one of the things that makes science so reliable- false results WILL be found out (remember cold fusion?).

    Here is a an article from Nature.com regarding the Wakefield problem for those interested: http://www.nature.com/nsu/040223/040223-1.html The problems with Wakefield were all over the news everywhere a couple of weeks ago.

    It's interesting (to me) that after the study was discreditied, many people on the anti-vac and autism websites wouldn't accept the criticism and came up with about 100 reasons about why people were 'out to get' Wakefield- everthing from he just was unpopular, to a giant governmental coverup, to being 'paid-off' by the pharmaceutical companies. Not many were willing to consider that Wakefield had an agenda (additional funding from the lawyers).

    I view those sites (and others) because my son is autistic and I like to keep an up to date on autism issues.

    Anyway, I'm not advocating we all go get a dose of thimerisol, but the reason the CDC, etc., doesn't recommend against the vac preps is because *reputable* studies show it causes no harm, not because they are trying secretly to hurt people. For poeple not comfortable with the preservative, I agree that having an alternative is a good thing. The alternative is better that not vaccinating in my opinion (and not everyone agrees)- exactly the CDC's stance. This is in line with the 'customer service' attitude so popular in healthcare today.

    Current autism theory is looking at genetics (chromosomes 7 and 15 seems to have problems), brain abnormalities (smaller, stunted, abnormal neurons have been seen on autopsy), and environmental factors.

    Personally, I feel my son's autism was caused by a genetic predisposition couple with an environmental trigger (extreme prematurity).
  5. by   fiestynurse
    Regardless of what the CDC decides, it is still up to each individual doctor to educate the parent regarding this and obtain informed consent. Always have a parent sign a consent form before every vaccination. Most Pediatricians that I know warn about thimerosal in vaccines and some won't give vaccines that use thimerosal as a preservative. Doctors carry a huge legal liability if they do not warn parents about all the possible side effects from vaccines, since the Vaccine Manufacturers are immune from lawsuits. Injuried patients usually go after the doctor for not warning them of possible vaccine reactions or seek compensation through the Vaccine injury Act.

    In 1986 Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The purpose of the Act is to grant compensation to individual injured by certain vaccines. Vaccine injury compensation claims must be filed within three (3) years of the vaccination or the first evidence of symptoms relating to the vaccination. If a death resulted from a vaccination, the claim must be filed within two years from the date of the death so long as it is not more than four years after the date of the vaccination.
    If you believe that you or your child has been injured by a vaccination, a petition must be filed with the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. The respondent in these cases is the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice defends these cases. Cases are heard by an Administrative Judge in the United States Court of Federal Claims.

    The Act provides for the payment of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, regardless of the Court's decision on compensability, as long as the case was brought in good faith and there is a reasonable basis for the claim. Compensation for vaccine related injuries is limited to $250,000.00 for actual and projected pain and suffering. In addition, compensation includes lost wages, past and future unreimbursable medical and custodial care rehabilitation costs. In the event of death damages are limited to $250,000.00 as well as reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

    As a claimant, you have the right to reject the Administrative Judge's decision and pursue civil litigation. In pursuing civil litigation, the standard of proof is heightened and there is a three-phase trial.

    The 1986 law promoted by the drug industry dramatically limits vaccine manufacturers' legal liability in cases where their products cause injury or death. The law was enacted to help prevent vaccine manufacturers from being driven out of business by rising liability costs. That was a worthy goal. But in practice the reform effectively removed one of the drug industry's most compelling incentives to ensure that its products are as safe as possible. Rather than filing lawsuits against drug companies, victims or their families now must first file claims under a federal vaccine injury compensation program. Also the damages awarded are not paid by drug companies: they are paid by you-in the form of a user tax tacked onto the price of the each vaccination.

    The Vaccine Industry is a Billion Dollar Business!!!
  6. by   crankyasanoldma
    Quote from fiestynurse
    In 1986 Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The purpose of the Act is to grant compensation to individual injured by certain vaccines.

    And to ensure adequate supply and reasonable costs...

    The Vaccine Industry is a Billion Dollar Business!!!

    The bulk of your post was well reasoned and well informed, but I wonder why you added this part. Does being a big business make them bad somehow?

    (blabble added for posting purposes)
  7. by   fergus51
    The government won't warn us about something that hasn't been shown to cause any harm? GASP!

    Seriously, the thimerisol hoopla is way overdone. Find one reputable study without some serious flaws that links it to autism and I would reconsider. Unfortunately, all the scientific evidence points the other way.
  8. by   fiestynurse
    Your right - Thimerosol has been out of vaccines for years in the United States, and there's no appreciable decrease in autism.

    I threw the billion dollar business comment in there to show that they do have the money to remove thimerosol from all vaccines, but won't.

    I think our whole vaccine manufacturing and distribution system in the U.S. is fragmented. The CDC seems to be making some of their decisions based on anticipated shortages. I thought it was interesting that last flu season we ran out of flu vaccines - but, England had a surplus of vaccines and was able to replenish our supply. We also manufactured a vaccine that did not prevent the dominate flu strain last year. I realize that it is a guessing game, but they were way off!
    Last edit by fiestynurse on Apr 5, '04
  9. by   LPN2BSN
    What upsets me about vaccination is that thousands of kid every year have reactions to these vaccinations but they have never pulled them from the market and done testing on them.
    My brother had a reaction his baby shots. He is 24 years old and is the size of my 4 year old son. He is like an infant. He can't walk, talk, sit up, eat solid foods. He was born a perfectly healthy child. With in 2 hours of having his first vaccination he was reacting. the doctors never caught on...they misdiganosed him for 9 months until my mom asked (after seeing a program on 20/20 about it) if it could be the vaccinations. The doctor looked at her and said, "Didn't we tell you?" my mom says..."um no" ...the doctor tells her "Well it PROBABLY is the shots so you shoud stop them". I think the only blessing is that they gave my brother steroids for something that he didn't have, and it stunned his growth. My mom could not have taken care of a 6'3 child.
    My parents were never taught about vaccination awareness...you best better believe that I believe in it. My son in unvaccinated and will remain that way until the government can assure me that my sons life will not be alterd due to those shots.
    Yah my brother will never catch polio...but it doesn't matter since he can't walk anyways.
    Sorry this topic is just such a personal one for me since my MHO the vaccination ruined our family's lives.
  10. by   fiestynurse
    A lot of parents are still choosing not to vaccinate their babies.
    But at what risk?
    Tuesday, Apr. 06, 2004

    When an Iowa College student returned from a class trip to India last month, he brought back more than the usual souvenirs. The man, 19, was infected with measles, a disease that is largely under control in the U.S. but is endemic in India and can cause high fevers, deafness, inflammation of the brain and even death. He wound up infecting at least one other person on the plane, and Iowa health officials confirmed last week that a third person later developed the disease on the ground.

    What happened? It turns out the young man, like several others in his college group, comes from a family that doesn't believe in vaccination, and so he had never had his measles shots. Altogether, six people in the group developed the illness while in India. When doctors at the Iowa Department of Public Health learned about their condition, they asked the ailing students and their unvaccinated traveling companions to delay their return to the U.S. so as not to spread the infection. Instead, says Kevin Teale, a spokesman for the public-health department, the 19year-old "came back early against our advice."

    With any luck, the Iowa outbreak may be limited to just the three cases. But it raises an important question: Why would anyone choose not to get vaccinated? For some it's a matter of religion. For others it's a concern about possible side effects. All vaccines have some small risk. Some parents and even a few doctors also are worried that recent increases in the rate of autism and earlier occurrences of Type 1 diabetes could have been caused by routine childhood vaccines.

    It has taken a while, but the best and largest studies have shown that not to be the case. Eighteen months ago, a giant study of practically every child in Denmark found no causative link between autism and the so-called MMR shot-the triple vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. Another big Danish study last week found no link between various childhood vaccines and Type 1 diabetes.

    The Iowa incident reminds us that when people decide-for any reason-not to vaccinate, they are endangering not just themselves but everyone around them.
    Last edit by fiestynurse on Apr 9, '04
  11. by   fry.girl
    In America, I believe that this young 19 yr old is a minority when it comes to being unvaccinated for measles. So why do we fear him spreading meales to us, the vaccinated ones. We should be immune...RIGHT? I thought that was the point of vaccination...PROTECTION from the disease...

    I have never understood why if 10 children are vaccinated and 1 is not (for medical reasons)...why are the parents of the 10 afraid that the 1 unvaccinated child is a threat to their "protected" children? If vaccination is so effective there should not be a threat of an epidemic right?

    It is important to note in this type of discussion that most of the people that choose to not vaccinate have a GOOD reason not to and are not the irresponsible, uneducated type that many would like to make them out to be. Most probably have studied the subject more than the average person.

    I believe vaccination has its place in healthcare, especially for those traveling outside of the country or working in a healthcare setting. I also think that many times vaccination and its effectiveness and saftey are empellished.

    Do not fool yourself into thinking that Vaccination hurts no one...if it didn't you would not have to sign a waiver before getting stuck...

    BTW...Here is a study I would like to see...

    Compare the day to day health as well as the chronic health problems of American children, Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated...Lets look for things like unexplained high fevers, ear infections, allergies, asthma, diabetes, upper respiratory infections, runny nose, coughing, mouth sores, diarrhea, food allergies, etc.
    Last edit by fry.girl on Apr 9, '04
  12. by   fiestynurse
    Part of the problem is that not too many people remember the polio epidemics anymore, often referred to as the "middle-class plague." Most who do are grandparents now, grandparents who back in the 1940s and 50s were caught up in the hysteria of summer after summer of polio epidemics. Parents then, they wouldn't let their children go to the beach, city swimming pool, or county fair out of fear that they might somehow contract the disease and be left crippled or, worse yet, confined to an iron lung for the rest of their lives. It was an enigmatic disease, appearing unpredictably and striking its victims, mostly children, with a frightening randomness. The develop of the polio vaccines were seen as miracles. Personally, there are some vaccines that I would not let my children go without.
  13. by   kids
    I am allergic to Thimerosal and frankly, it is not that difficult to avoid Thimerosal in Vaccines.

    Most of us don't remember life before vaccines.
    Most of us have never seen people who were maimed, crippled or killed by vaccine preventable diseases. Their numbers far outweigh the number of people who have been harmed by vaccinations.

    I chose to fully vaccinate my children (per the standards at the time) and my grandson's parents have elected to follow the vac schedules for him.
    I was (they are) willing accept the low risk of an adverse reaction to avoid the suffering the illnesses cause and to prevent the spread of the illnesses to others.

    By far the biggest "problem" I have is people who make the decision not to vaccinate based by stuff they read on the internet. I am a Peds nurse, when I worked in a clinic I felt an obligation to educate myself on both sides of the vaccinate/not vaccinate debate. I found a a HUGE lack of credible evidence against vaccinating. There is a lot of anecdotal "evidence" but no true research with reproducable results. *Personally* I found I had much more respect for parents who elect to delay or selectively vaccinate rather than make a blanket decision to not vaccinate. Those are the parents that (in my opinion) gathered their information from credible sources and not from the highly emotional anecdotal reports that are so easy to find.

    My issues with people who choose not to vaccinate has nothing to do with concern for me or my loved ones. I am concerned for people who thru no choice of their own are not immunized. There are medical conditions that exclude people, adults and children from receiving vaccines as well as many people who are immune deficient. These people are both at risk to contract and spread the illnesses. Should they spend their lives holed up in their homes to avoid the community exposure to a preventable illness because a portion of society who can vaccinate chooses not to?
    Last edit by kids on Apr 9, '04
  14. by   LPN2BSN
    My unvaccinated son has seasonal allergies (which is rampant here in this area), and has had one ear infection and that was last year, he is 4 year old. We did find out he is allergic to Augmentin, he had hivs for 6 weeks over that one.:stone
    My son has been exceptionally healthy and I am so lucky that I have a Ped. that backs my decision to not vaccinate.

    My deal is that parents should be educated as far as what "type" of reaction to look for. My brothers reaction was classic for kids who have such severe reactions. Parents need to be educated. I don't agree with the utilitarian theory of one for the greater good of all....esp. when that one is your loved one.

    And believe me...my decision was a very difficult one to make. But with a well documented family history of reactions (My brother to DPT, me, and my brother in law to MMR) I think I am pretty justified in not vaccinating. I dare anyone to tell me they wouldn't do the same in my position.
    Last edit by LPN2BSN on Apr 9, '04