CDC Still Continues To
Parents and health advocates are expressing
outrage over the recommendation from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee
for Immunization Practices (ACIP) that pregnant women,
infants and children continue to be exposed to mercury
contained in the flu vaccine despite recommendations
from the Institute of Medicine that mercury not be injected
into these sensitive populations since 2001.
Dr. Jay Lieberman was assigned to present on "Thimerosal,
Reviewing the Evidence." A plethora of peer-reviewed
published data documenting the harmful effects of thimerosal
on the immune, metabolic and nervous systems in humans
and animals is widely available with a simple PubMed
data search. But none of this information was mentioned
by Dr. Lieberman. Instead, the discussion centered on
epidemiological studies which have been highly criticized
due to their inability to identify any such harmful
associations. In fact, one such study presented by Dr.
Lieberman was found by the National Institute of Health
(NIH) in October of 2006 to contain several serious
flaws that were "judged to reduce the usefulness of
an ecologic study design using the VSD (Vaccine Safety
Database) to address the potential association between
thimerosal and the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders."
Dr. Lieberman has been a consultant to Merck, GlaxoSmithKline,
and Sanofi-Pasteur and is on the speakers' bureau for
all three vaccine-makers, who have used, and currently
use, thimerosal in their products. "We have been very
concerned about Dr. Lieberman's conflicts of interest,"
commented Executive Director Rita Shreffler of NAA.
Shreffler says that NAA requested that a counterpoint
speaker without ties to drug companies be allowed to
present current, peer-reviewed toxicological data and
the request was denied. "To leave this presentation
in the hands of those who have profited from, and continue
to use thimerosal in some of their products is consistent
with the CDC's history of concealing the consequences
of injecting mercury into humans," said Shreffler.
While most routine childhood vaccines are currently
available in mercury- free or reduced mercury versions,
the majority of flu shots still contain 25 micrograms
of mercury, an amount considered unsafe under government
agency guidelines for anyone weighing less than 550
lbs. The CDC now recommends flu shots for pregnant women
and children ages six months through five years. "It's
obvious this committee's ties to the drug companies
are dictating what will come to light regarding the
use of mercury in vaccines," said Claire Bothwell, NAA
board chair. "When it comes to discussing thimerosal,
it's hard to tell where the pharmaceutical industry
leaves off and where the CDC begins. The blurring of
these lines is not in the best interests of public health."