According to public health doctors and a medical trade association representing U.S. pediatricians, poor children in developing countries should continue to get vaccines containing the mercury preservative, thimerosal, because providing these children with mercury-free vaccines “would devastate public health efforts in developing countries,” the New York Times reports.1
The defense for keeping thimerosal in vaccines was published in a medical journal and commentaries authored by Drs. Walter Orenstein, Louis Cooper, Samuel Katz et al was widely promoted in the media by Dr. Paul Offit and others supporting the “pro-mercury” stance officially endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The article and commentaries, published in the journal Pediatrics,2 were written in response to consumer calls for thimerosal removal to be included in a United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) global treaty to reduce mercury pollution and protect human health. The binding treaty calls for the global reduction or banning of certain mercury-containing products and exposures.
Dental amalgams, which contain mercury, are included in the treaty, but thimerosal was removed from the product list during the beginning of the treaty development process. Advocacy groups like SAFEMINDS and Co-Med have been working to add thimerosal removal from vaccines back in to the treaty.
Interestingly, the AAP has been inaccurately publicizing the idea that a thimerosal ban is, in fact, part of the treaty in order to have an excuse to globally defend the safety of mercury preservatives in vaccines.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joins the World Health Organization (WHO) in urging the U.N. to drop the proposal from an international treaty seeking to cut down on mercury exposures in a variety of ways. Both the WHO and AAP say a thimerosal ban could keep children in poor nations from getting needed vaccines.”
Thimerosal—Is it Really Worth the Risk?
Thimerosal (TMS), which is used in vaccines as a preservative, is 49.6 percent ethylmercury (eHg). The compound was removed from most pediatric vaccines in 2001, but it’s still used in some multi-dose vials, and is present in many seasonal flu vaccines. (Pregnant women and children are generally advised to request thimerosal-free flu vaccines.)
It is already an established fact that exposure to mercury can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral disorders. But many doctors and health officials are still refusing to admit that ethylmercury may cause harm, stating that there’s no evidence for such fears, and that ethylmercury is harmless compared to methylmercury—the form typically found in contaminated fish.
Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, claims that the U.S. government’s 1999 directive to drug companies to remove thimerosal from pediatric vaccines was not based on scientific evidence of harm, but rather was simply done as a precautionary measure until researchers could learn more about thimerosal health effects. He goes so far as to call the removal of thimerosal in the US “a mistake,” and one that should not be repeated globally.
According to U.S. News Health:
“Numerous international studies since have uncovered no evidence of harm—including no link between thimerosal and autism, which had been a concern. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is ‘no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines.
…Developing nations rely on vaccines containing thimerosal, Orenstein said. The preservative is used in vials that contain more than one dose of a vaccine, to prevent contamination, which can happen when a syringe needle is inserted into the vial. Rich countries such as the United States can get around the need for thimerosal by using single-dose vials. But for poor countries, multi-dose vials make vaccination programs more feasible, Orenstein explained.'”
Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), strongly disagrees with the AAP’s stance, and so do I. She points out that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not rescinded their 1999 directive to the pharmaceutical industry to take thimerosal out of childhood vaccines.
“If unused vials of thimerosal-containing vaccines must be disposed of as hazardous waste because of the mercury content, then why is the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocating that thimerosal-containing vaccines continue to be injected into children’s bodies?” she asks.4
SAFEMINDS has been working to urge the UN treaty group to include thimerosal in the treaty so that mercury containing vaccines will be phased out around the world. The Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs has also weighed in by issuing an open letter to UNEP.5 The group disputes the assertion that scientific studies has proven thimerosal safe, and urge the Program to include thimerosal in the global ban. They also point out that including thimerosal in vaccines given to children in poor developing nations, but not in developed countries, is “an injustice that characterizes this most iatrogenic of toxic exposures.”
“In an era when cost-effective, much less toxic, non-bioaccumulative, and more effective alternatives are available and in-use as in-process sanitizers and preservatives, there is no conscionable justification for the continuing presence of thimerosal in human pharmaceuticals,” the letter states.
More Vaccines = Worse Health Outcomes, Groundbreaking Study Finds
While concerns about thimerosal are valid, it’s by no means the only vaccine ingredient or factor that can make childhood vaccinations a risky proposition. Even more important is the issue of use of too many vaccines in general, and the routine administration of multiple vaccines simultaneously during one doctor’s visit.
Vaccine safety advocates have long called for studies evaluating the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. One study addressing this issue recently has been published. The NVIC donated $2,500 to make the full study available to the public free of charge. The study, Relative trends in hospitalizations and mortality among infants by the number of vaccine doses and age, based on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 1990–20106 found a positive correlation between the number of vaccine doses administered and the percentage of hospitalizations and infant deaths:
- Hospitalization rate increased linearly from 11.0 percent for 2 doses to 23.5 percent for 8 doses
- Hospitalization rate decreased linearly from 20.1 percent for children aged <0.1 year to 10.7 percent for children aged 0.9 year
- Mortality rate for 1-4 vaccine doses was 3.6 percent
- Mortality rate for 5-8 vaccine doses rose to 5.5 percent
- A disproportionate number of hospitalizations were due to the administration of the at-birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccination (73 percent of VAERS cases reported the receipt of hepatitis B vaccine, and 30 percent of these required hospitalization)
“In 1990, infants received a total of 15 vaccine doses prior to their first year of life: 3 DPT injections (9 vaccine doses), 3 polio, and 3 Hib vaccines—5 vaccine doses at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. By 2007, the CDC recommended 26 vaccine doses for infants: 3 DTaP, 3 polio, 3 Hib, 3 hepatitis B, 3 pneumococcal, 3 rotavirus, and 2 influenza vaccines. While each childhood vaccine has individually undergone clinical trials to assess safety, studies have not been conducted to determine the safety (or efficacy) of combining vaccines during a single physician visit as recommended by CDC guidelines.
For example, 2-, 4-, and 6-month-old infants are expected to receive vaccines for polio, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and pneumococcal, all during a single well-baby visit—even though this combination of 8 vaccine doses was never tested in clinical trials.
…Administering six, seven, or eight vaccine doses to an infant during a single physician visit may certainly be more convenient for parents—rather than making additional trips to the doctor’s office—but evidence of a positive association between infant adverse reactions and the number of vaccine doses administered confirms that vaccine safety must remain the highest priority.
… Since vaccines are administered to millions of infants every year, it is imperative that health authorities have scientific data from synergistic toxicity studies on all combinations of vaccines that infants are likely to receive; universal vaccine recommendations must be supported by such studies.”
Findings in Girl Who Died After Receiving Gardasil Vaccine Now Released
In related vaccine news, a lab scientist, who discovered HPV DNA fragments in the blood of a teenage girl who died after receiving the Gardasil vaccine, has published a case report in the peer reviewed journal Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology.8 The otherwise healthy girl died in her sleep six months after receiving her third and final dose of the HPV vaccine. A full autopsy revealed no cause of death.
Sin Hang Lee with the Milford Molecular Laboratory in Connecticut confirmed the presence of HPV-16 L1 gene DNA in the girl’s postmortem blood and spleen tissue. These DNA fragments are also found in the vaccine. The fragments were protected from degradation by binding firmly to the particulate aluminum adjuvant used in the vaccine.
“The significance of these HPV DNA fragments of a vaccine origin found in post-mortem materials is not clear and warrants further investigation,” he writes.
However, Lee suggests the presence of vaccine-associated HPV DNA fragments might offer a plausible explanation for the high immunogenicity of Gardasil, meaning the ability of the vaccine to provoke an exaggerated immune response. He points out that the rate of anaphylaxis in girls receiving Gardasil is far higher than normal—reportedly five to 20 times higher than any other school-based vaccination program. Other health problems associated with Gardasil vaccine include immune-based inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders, also indicative that something is causing the immune system to overreact in a detrimental way. Between June 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008, there were 12,424 reported adverse events following Gardasil vaccination, including 32 deaths. The girls, who were on average 18 years old, died within 2 to 405 days after their last Gardasil injection.
“No investigative work was attempted to confirm or exclude any link of a death to Gardasil vaccination although there was disproportional reporting of syncope [fainting] among the Gardasil recipients,” he notes.
Since then, many more have died.
- Between May 2009 and September 2010, 16 deaths after Gardasil vaccination were reported. For that timeframe, there were also 789 reports of “serious” Gardasil adverse reactions, including 213 cases of permanent disability and 25 diagnosed cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Between September 1, 2010 and September 15, 2011, another 26 deaths were reported following HPV vaccination
Under Attack, NVIC Helps Americans Stand Up and Speak Out
There can be no doubt that we are in urgent need of a serious vaccine safety review in the US. Quality science is simply not being done. And very few vaccine recommendations, which prop up state vaccine mandates, stand on firm scientific ground.
I urge you to make 2013 the year that you engage and get actively involved in the monumentally important task of defending YOUR right to know and freedom to choose which vaccines you and your child will use. Supporting the NVIC is one way you can help.
“In 2013, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) enters our fourth decade of preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending the legal right to make voluntary vaccination decisions in America. Each year during the past 30, NVIC has become more successful in achieving our mission. With that success has come more fierce opposition by politically powerful medical trade associations and special interest groups allied with drug companies doing everything they can to censor truthful vaccine information and strip vaccine informed consent protections from public health laws.
At a recent federal advisory committee meeting, we learned that public opinion surveys reveal that NVIC ranks as one of the most trusted sources of vaccine information among Americans, who choose to vaccinate, and also among those, who do not. This means that our small charity and the well-referenced information on our website at NVIC.org is helping to inform the health decisions made by millions of Americans. This is a huge accomplishment and it would not have been possible without 30 years of loyal support by tens of thousands of parents, grandparents, doctors, nurses and students coming from every single state and every walk of life, who offer donations to NVIC every year.
No Liability for Drug Companies & Doctors
A lot of people still don’t realize that Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have completely shielded drug companies and doctors in America from product liability and malpractice lawsuits when vaccines injure or kill someone. But pharmaceutical corporations and medical trade groups are not satisfied with total liability protection and no accountability. They also want the power to legally force 310 million Americans to buy and use every single vaccine that Big Pharma produces and public health doctors endorse – no exceptions.
NVIC Attacked for Defending Informed Consent Rights
NVIC and our uncompromising defense of informed consent to medical risk taking, including vaccine risk taking, has stood in their way for 30 years. And that is one reason why we are witnessing vicious assaults on NVIC and courageous Americans in every state, who are trying to protect their right to know and freedom to choose how they and their children will stay well. At this time last year, NVIC was the subject of a smear campaign led by American Academy of Pediatrics officials, who put pressure on Delta Airlines in a failed attempt to remove an NVIC-sponsored flu prevention video from inflight health programming. A month later, another online disinformation campaign about NVIC was launched by forced vaccination proponents to get a 15-second NVIC-sponsored digital ad taken down from Times Square. It failed and our vaccine risk awareness message was broadcast throughout the holiday season and on New Year’s Eve.
Big Pharma & Doctor Groups Lobby to Eliminate Vaccine Exemptions
And this year, drug company and medical trade association lobbyists tried to persuade legislators in Vermont and California to remove philosophical and personal belief exemptions to vaccination from public health laws. But we fought back in both states, using our free online NVIC Advocacy Portal to empower citizens to quickly organize and electronically stay connected to their legislators and up-to-date on breaking news.
Next year, NVIC will face more censorship and well-orchestrated, well-funded assaults on vaccine exemptions in multiple states. Our parental, civil and human rights in America are in grave jeopardy. All you have to do is read the heartbreaking descriptions posted on the Cry forVaccine Freedom Wall at NVIC.org to understand how bad it is.
Health Care Workers Being Fired
Children are being denied medical care if parents ask pediatricians questions about vaccines or object to a baby being injected with eight to ten different vaccines on one day. Health care workers are being threatened and fired if they don’t get an annual flu shot. This is what one nurse posted on the Vaccine Freedom Wall:
‘I have taken the flu shot in the past and had body aches for weeks afterward. I started educating myself on vaccines and haven’t taken a flu shot in years. I am a nurse and love my job. I take every precaution in the interest of my patients, utilize hand washing, etc. I found out at a meeting yesterday that our organization’s policy has changed and that I will have to take the flu shot or be terminated from employment. I am at a crossroads and am actually thinking about leaving a job that I love because I feel so strongly about my personal freedom.’
No Vaccinations? No Prescription Medications.
Americans needing public assistance are being coerced into getting many vaccines against their will or be cut off from prescription medications. This is what one American suffering financial hardship had to say:
‘During this past recession, I had to seek medical care from the county public health program. I had high blood pressure, probably due to stress. My last and final visit to that place was to refill the [blood pressure] prescription, which was denied until I allowed myself to be injected with three vaccines: tetanus, flu and pneumococcal. At first I refused but finally consented because I was afraid of what would happen if I suddenly stopped taking the medicine. I was sick for nine days after receiving those shots. Being forced to accept vaccines under duress as an adult is a horrible feeling, a sense of loss of freedom. Using coercion by withholding medication is just plain evil.’
No Vaccinations? No Medicare Benefits
The elderly are being bullied, too. A couple on Medicare described their frightening experience:
‘My wife and I are in our mid-sixties and on Medicare. We saw our primary care physician today for a routine ‘well care’ visit and were shocked to hear what our physician for over 26 years had to tell us! The doctor made it clear that he was referring to ‘new’ [federal health care program] mandates that, if we did not voluntarily receive the pneumonia vaccine, we would be terminated from his practice! My wife and I have never felt so violated.’
Doctors Pushing More Vaccines on Vaccine Injured Children
Even parents of vaccine injured children are being pressured to give their children more vaccines because many liability-free doctors now feel comfortable taking a risky, one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination. Mothers are fighting back and are warning others that doctors are behaving badly and that vaccine exemptions must be protected at all costs. One mother said:
‘My daughter is a proven vaccine injury of the pertussis vaccine. I urge people to please help to defend the personal belief exemption. My child almost died from vaccines and there are doctors, even most recently a neurologist whom we visited in California, who suggested that we continue the very vaccine that almost took her life. Our daughter suffered an encephalopathy, rare seizures, global developmental delays, speech delays.
She is eight years old and crawls. She can’t walk or ambulate alone. She has multiple chemical disorder and it causes her to have seizures. She is unable to attend public schools and we no longer have health insurance and no job, due to what this vaccine damage has taken from our family. If you think doctors are going to sign the [personal belief] exemption, you are wrong. They won’t.’ This Mom knows first-hand that vaccine risks are greater for some than others and that, at our peril, do we give up our freedom to make personalized vaccine decisions for ourselves and our children.
Help NVIC Help Americans Stand Up & Speak Out
There is no time to waste. Now, more than ever, NVIC needs the financial resources to educate more Americans about vaccination and health and help citizens protect vaccine exemptions in the states. Please visit NVIC.org and offer a donation – big or small – to help NVIC continue to defend parental, civil and human rights in America. What you choose to do today WILL determine what happens to you, your children, your grandchildren and everyone you love tomorrow.”