Cites Lack of Evidence, Need for Vaccines in 3rd World

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) has reversed its 1999 position that Thimerosal be removed from all vaccines. The AAP sided with the World Health Organizations’s position that Thimerosal be left in vaccines to promote world safety, particularly in poor nations where cost and accessibility are significant obstacles to regular vaccinations.

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been in vaccines for many years. Its use in vaccines has sparked a lot of controversy and public attention, including some unconfirmed reports that it is linked to autism and the surge in autism spectrum disorders during the past 20 years.

The public outcry and some scientific studies of Methyl Mercury led to a ban of Thimerosal by many countries and health organizations, including AAP.

In 1999, when AAP and the United States Public Health Services endorsed the removal of Thimerosal from vaccines, no rigorous studies of the effects of Ethyl Mercury had been conducted. No studies since then have demonstrated neurotoxicity or other severe health effects. Ethyl mercury is the type of mercury in Thimerosal. Methyl mercury has been tested and has been consistently shown to cause adverse effects in humans when consumed in sufficiently high doses. However, Ethyl Mercury and Methyl Mercury are handled quite differently by the human body. The AAP’s panel stated that, had it known in 1999 what it knows now, it would not have supported the Thimerosal ban.

By 2001, virtually all Thimerosal was removed from vaccines administered to children in this country; in addition, some of the dosing guidelines were altered by AAP.

World health officials are concerned that requiring Thimerosal to be removed from all vaccines and changing dosing schedules on a world-wide basis would add such cost and access burdens, the health consequences would be devastating.

Virginia Buchanan is a shareholder at Levin, Papantonio.  She has served on the Board of Directions of the Florida Bar Foundation and has been Treasurer of ABOTA, Chairperson of the Civil Process Server Grievance Committeee and has been a member of the Chief Judge’s Council on Children. She currently is a member of the Women’s Caucus of the Florida Justice Association.