Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Vaccines: There are significant risks for kids

Here’s a letter-to-the-editor that I wish I had written. From the Florida Times-Union, May 24, 2005 by Bruce R. Anderson Jr., Attorney, Jacksonville Beach.

I respectfully disagree with a recent letter from two doctors encouraging parents to immunize their children because the "benefits of immunization far outweigh the small risks."

Despite the fact that vaccines have reduced serious childhood infections, we do our children and ourselves a disservice when we fail to research the significant risks of permanent injury and death from vaccines.

We should demand from our pediatricians and health care providers the same degree of testing and informed consent for vaccinations that is provided for any other medical procedure.

Vaccines are a complex mix of viral proteins, preservatives, additives and residuals from chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Thimerosal, a sterilizer and preservative, is made with 49.6 percent organic mercury, a known neurotoxin.

Five years ago, the federal government disclosed that the levels of mercury in thimerosal-containing vaccines given to children exceeded federal safety limits for adults by up to 50 times per shot.

Parents of vaccine-injured children bear the heavy burden of providing for medical care, therapies and educational programs, yet have received no reasonable explanation for the continued use of mercury in flu and other vaccines given to our children.

Contrary to the letter writers' assurances, animal and test tube studies published in respected medical journals by independent physicians and researchers have provided biological evidence of a causal connection between autism and other developmental disorders and thimerosal-containing vaccines.

Since 1988, the number of vaccines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends before a child reaches 2 years of age has nearly tripled.

Simultaneously, we have seen asthma rates double, diabetes rates triple and autism rates grow from a rare incidence of one in 10,000 births to one in 166 today. Today, one in every six American children has a developmental disorder or behavioral

Vaccines can be made safer. The one-size-fits-all vaccine policy and schedule that the CDC and FDA promote is not justified by weighing the benefits of immunization against the risk of death and injury to some of our children. How can anyone claim the moral authority to write off an unknown number of children to death or severe vaccine injuries for the benefit of the rest of the population?

The recent parent movement for informed consent and safer vaccines and vaccine policies should not be dismissed as anti-vaccine or extremist.

Informed parents may determine that it is in their child's best interests to delay some or all vaccinations until their child is older and stronger, until safer vaccines are produced or not to vaccinate at all.

Doctors should work with parents to make informed decisions for each child, separate from any consideration of protecting the entire population.

No one should attempt to scare parents into vaccinating their children without making an informed decision based only on the best interest of each child.


Blogger pale said...

Hear, hear! Medications are invented by fallible humans. Humans don't make mistakes on purpose (for the most part), but it's part of the learning process. Since we don't know everything, we have to experiment.

Earnest experimentation and testing can yield amazing results, but even our greatest efforts can fall victim to our own human ignorance. When you're working in the health profession, that can mean people suffer; people die.

Recent history is full of examples of drugs and other inventions that we all thought were great, but proved horribly wrong; Thalidomide, DDT and Asbestos spring to mind.

Drug companies and other organizations short-circuit development and testing processes by imposing unreasonable deadlines (usually based on the desire to be "first to market"), cutting spending or resources to proper R&D, and even hiding negative research findings.

Why does this happen? Investors' markets have created corporations with virtually no accountability, powered almost exclusively by greed.

Mix ignorance with greed, and what do you get? Disaster.

May 26, 2005  

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