English: Preparation of measles vaccine at the Tirana (Albania) Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. Two technicians, wearing surgical gowns, are making small openings in eggs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, who knows what a Trace Amount of Thimerosal is? Who knows what Thimerosal is? It’s the mercury-containing organic compound used since the 30′s as a preservative in vaccines. It’s been mostly phased out in the United States. Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine although that is actually changing.
What is a trace amount? Do you know? In scientific terms? It’s an amount that is detectable but not able to be quantified. You can’t even measure a trace amount, that’s how insignificant it is. Even if you added up all of the possible vaccinations someone could receive in their lifetime and took the trace amounts of whatever ingredients there are trace amounts of, guess what they’d add up to? They’d still be detectable but unable to be quantified or, you know, trace amounts.
But hey, let’s get nitty gritty on Thimerosal and vaccines. Let’s use actual science and resources and debunk some chizz in the chizzle.
Thimerosal is still used in the early stages of the manufacturing process of a few vaccines to ensure the production line is sterile. It is removed through a purification process, with only trace remaining (about 1/100th of the amount found in older vaccines).
Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal are labeled “preservative-free.” Vaccines that do not contain any thimerosal are labeled “thimerosal-free.” Manufacturers are working to remove this trace amount found in a few vaccines.
You need to know this. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines do not and never did contain thimerosal. Varicella (chickenpox), inactivated polio (IPV), and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have also never contained thimerosal.
I do realize that a rabid anti-vacc’er will likely respond that they’d just rather be safe than sorry and avoid the other “poisons” in the vaccines. But here’s something they don’t think about at all. Because vaccines WORK they have the luxury of thinking this way. Because their children don’t suffer from polio, they can afford to think this way. Because it’s 2013 and not 1913 they can afford to think this way. They have the luxury of panicking over things that won’t happen and worrying over what will happen if they DO GET the vaccination rather than what will occur if they don’t get it. Or, you know, they would rather assume that they’re saving their children from a vaccine “injury” that they’ve decided to believe Autism is. This is actually to be expected since in the current generation raising small children and teens ie. my generation and those parents who are much younger than myself, most of the diseases I’m talking about in this post have not been seen by anti-vacc’ers. They use terms like “people are starting to wake up to the truth about vaccines and soon the laws will work in our favor so that no one will have to get vaccinated before attending school because we’re the educated ones! We’re the ones who love our children enough to keep that poison out of them! We love our kids enough to go that extra mile in research! WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN MORE THAN VACCINATING PARENTS!” It becomes so mommier-than-thou and competitive that it’s sickening. I can reverse it and say that I love my kids SO MUCH that I made certain they received their vaccinations. How’s that? But I’m not like that because I do believe that people deserve to make their own medical decisions.
What I don’t believe is right is pushing harmful falsehoods and presenting them as facts. I don’t believe putting up certain individuals as experts when they’ve done incredible damage to the Autism community as a whole and to vaccinations worldwide is responsible. I believe pushing agendas in order to try to sell your own herbal supplements and claim they’re “all natural” and “better than medicine and will cure you of your ills” is irresponsible, criminal and downright dangerous. I believe touting homeopathic remedies as the only way to go and telling others that modern medicine is intentionally out to harm them is stupidity.
It makes as much sense as some people avoiding vaccines for the microchips that they think President Obama is forcing the pharmaceutical companies to inject in people in order to keep track of them and find out everything about them.
What else do you need to know? Let’s see… I think I saw someone whose opinion on this sort of thing I used to trust say that “even the AAP doesn’t support vaccines” or paraphrased as such. If you go directly to the AAP web site you’ll find:
“thimerosal-containing vaccines do not increase the risk of autism.”
“Immunizations protect children. Vaccine-preventable diseases can have dangerous consequences, including
seizures, brain damage, blindness and even death. Because of the success of the national immunization program,
many young parents today have never seen a case of one of these illnesses, but measles, meningitis, chickenpox,
pertussis and other diseases exist in the world and would re-emerge here if immunization rates fell. For example,
recent outbreaks of measles in the U.S. were traced to unvaccinated children who became infected while
traveling in Europe… “
In other words, the AAP finds childrens’ vaccines to be safe and certainly far safer statistically than the alternative.
Now, I’m not talking about people that have a proven, known allergy or sensitivity to certain ingredients in vaccinations. Some people are allergic to egg whites and can’t have vaccines in injection form. Some people are allergic to other ingredients in vaccines and have reactions or injuries to them. I’m also not stating that people don’t ever have vaccine injury or that vaccines don’t ever contribute to triggering Autism from coming out in someone that is already predisposed to Autism.
The vaccines that do contain thimerosal ARE NOT routinely recommended for young children and are not routinely given to older persons. Another worry eliminated for those on the paranoid end of the vaccination debate.
Oh, I have to laugh at this one. I saw just today someone argue against vaccines for the reason that they contain deactivated viruses and bacteria that we’re trying to innoculate ourselves against and therefore, the vaccination is poisonous and shouldn’t be injected into anyone let alone poor helpless children. Proof that some people just don’t understand science. Or, you know, the human body and how antibodies and chizz like that works.
More science! Like, actual real science! Thimerosal does not stay in the body a long time so it does not build up and reach harmful levels. When thimerosal enters the body, it breaks down, to ethylmercury and thiosalicylate, which are easily eliminated by the body. We’re naturally exposed to much, much higher doses of mercury in our environment and food supply daily (yes, even organic food) so yes the government’s goal is to try to remove as much exposure to various forms of mercury as possible. Wait… what? Well let me explain. That’s why we have TRACE AMOUNTS. Trace amounts that even an infant can handle.
Know why? Because the human body is amazing. On the one hand, anti-vacc’ers with an agenda will try to convince you that these horrible toxins will destroy the brains of our children and teens and yet in the next breath when they introduce their agenda as innocently as possible they tell you how amazing the recuperative powers of our body are and how our bodies can handle anything. Which one is it? Our bodies are amazing and deal with toxins much, much more efficiently than they would have you believe considering when trying to convince you to shun modern medicine and its marvels, shun science, and shun the miracle that is vaccinations.
I’ll tell you a real truth that even Google will tell you. There’s far more mercury in the fish and shellfish that you feed your child or that you eat and then breastfeed to your baby. Oh, it gets better though. Listen up. Independent scientists have determined that the form of ethyl mercury in thimerosal is far less dangerous than methyl mercury, the form found in seafood. I can repeat that because I didn’t stutter that time. The mercury found in seafood like tuna and salmon and other fish plus shellfish is found in far higher quantities in one meal than in all of the doses of any possible vaccine you’ll ever receive in a lifetime AND the mercury found in seafood in MORE DANGEROUS to pregnant women and infants they nurse and to children than that the type of mercury in Thimerosal. This is an indisputable scientific fact verified by independent scientists who have no ties to pharmaceuticals.
Studies done to date show no association between neuro-developmental disorders, such as Autism, and thimerosal. I’m saying that again because it needs to be repeated. The AAP stated it. The CDC has said it. The FDA has said it. Independent scientists are saying it. Scientists in Europe are saying it. Scientists who were offended at the hoax perpetuated by Andrew Wakefield and tarnished the reputation of The Lancet and the scientific community. Real, actual scientists who have nothing to gain unlike Wakefield, who was trying to gain notoriety, fame, and money. I’ve blogged extensively about his horrific hoax so I’m not going to repeat it here. Suffice it to say, he’s a raging lunatic and shouldn’t be considered a sympathetic figure by anyone. He makes a lovely companion for Jenny Whackadoodle McCarthy and her Whackadoodle Brigade.
A recent study (Sept. 2010) published in the Journal of Pediatrics looked at over 1,008 children and their exposure to thimerosal during pregnancy and early childhood and found that thimerosal-containing vaccines did not increase a child’s risk of getting autism.
A study (Jan. 2009) published in the Journal of Pediatrics, looked at over 1,400 children and found no association between thimerosal exposure in vaccines and developmental problems.
In December 2007 the Archives of General Psychiatry published findings that autism cases in California continued to increase even after thimerosal was removed as a preservative from routine childhood shots in 2001.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine (Sept. 2007) analyzed data on over 1000 children and assessed 42 neuro-psychological outcomes. They did not find an association between early exposure to mercury from thimerosal and neuropsychological disorders. The authors consulted with a wide variety of outside experts and advocates including experts in toxicology, epidemiology, biostatistics, psychology, vaccine safety and a representative from the autism advocacy community. (This study did not assess autism; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting a separate autism study.)
A Canadian study (July 2006) found that thimerosal exposure from vaccines was unrelated to the increasing trend in pervasive developmental disorder prevalence.
In a 2004 report, a panel of medical experts at the Institutes of Medicine reviewed dozens of studies and found no evidence that thimerosal in vaccines cause autism.
The CDC examined the incidence of autism and other neurological disorders in relation to the amount of thimerosal in vaccines. Their report (Nov. 2003) found no change in autism rates relative to the amount of thimerosal a child received from vaccines in the first six months of life. In other words, a child who received more thimerosal was not more likely to be autistic.
If you want to be sure that there isn’t any mercury or preservatives in vaccinations for your children ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK YOUR PEDIATRICIAN TO ORDER THEM PRESERVATIVE FREE. Who would have thought? Sanofi Pasteur has a flu shot for children age 6 months to 3 years that is thimerosal-free and limited amounts of thimerosal-free flu vaccine for older ages. Novartis produces a limited amount of preservative-free (only a trace) flu shots for people that are 4 years of age and older. Two additional flu vaccines are also available for persons age 18 years and older; thimerosal-free, single dose Afluria and preservative-free single dose Fluarix. There’s also a nasal-spray flu vaccine, made from a weakened live virus, which does not contain egg whites or thimerosal. Healthy people that are aged 2 through 49 years of age can receive this vaccine.
What else anti-vacc’ers won’t tell you? Autism rates have not decreased since removing Thimerosal from vaccines. Fact.
I think that what bothers me most about this debate regarding vaccines is that the people who have no problem spreading dangerous propaganda (Hello Jenny McCarthy, looking at you and your Whackadoodle Brigade) against vaccinations always, always have an ulterior motive and agenda. Think about that. They try to convince you that medicine is bad, but good doctors don’t push med after med after med. Every doctor I’ve had for myself and my children has ALWAYS touted the benefits of natural remedies in conjunction with modern medicine. They take their cues from holistics that make sense. Drug pushing doctors aren’t doctors at all, and I wouldn’t go anywhere near them or trust them. But I don’t trust anyone who would tell you not to trust any type of medicine either. They will always have their own agenda, and are likely trying to sell you something to line their own pockets. They’ll talk to you about “literature” and “research” and “articles.” What they show you will be opinion pieces, propaganda sites, and they will always sound reasonable. But nothing they show is actually scientific. In fact they try to convince you that even independent scientists have a nefarious agenda where the government and big pharma are trying to line their pockets and can’t be trusted. Don’t trust science! Don’t trust scientific proof! Trust ME! Trust ME WITH THE homeopathic remedies from my homeopathic company instead of giving your money to your doctor and trusted science! With the logic they use, they have to also believe that the Earth is flat and the moon landing was a hoax.
I love science. I just love it. Why? Because I can find things like this:
MMR: Measles, Mumps, Rubella.
A September 2008 case-control study published in Public Library of Science (PLoS) was conducted in 2004-2008 to determine whether results from an earlier study that claimed to find measles virus RNA in the intestinal tissue of a specific group of autistic children could be confirmed. The results could not be confirmed, and no link between MMR and autism was found.
An April 2006 study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of NIH and the CDC assessed data from 351 children with autism spectrum disorders and 31 typically-developing children. The study did not find a link between MMR vaccination and autism. The results were published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
A February 2004 case-control study examined the possible relationship between exposure to the MMR vaccine and autism in Atlanta, Georgia. The results were published in Pediatrics.
A November 2002 study by CDC and the Danish Medical Research Council that followed more than 500,000 children over 7 years and found no association between MMR vaccination and autism. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control has a system in place to rigorously track what it calls “adverse events” associated with vaccinations? Chyeah! They study very closely and carefully what adverse events occur, when they happen, who they happen to, and when. They study the patterns in intense detail and everyone from infant to adult is encouraged to report ANY reactions of any kind to their doctor or family practitioner or nurse practitioner. Your medical provider will report it for you.
Do you know what to look for as a “severe adverse reaction?” It’s easy. Coma, brain damage, or death. Guess how often severe adverse reactions are reported? Less than one in a million children, according to the CDC (unless you’re so rabid of an anti-vacc’er that you don’t trust the CDC or FDA or AAP) Do you know how rare that is? It’s so rare that those particular injuries may not even be because of the vaccinations that were given around the time of the injury. It could be .due to any number of things that parents don’t take into account.
Do you know what to look for as an allergic reaction that should be reported? The most common side-effects are minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. It’s typical for there to be some swelling, warmth, a body temp increase up to 100.5*F but no higher, slight nausea, decrease in appetite, crankiness, soreness at the site, and slight headache. Those symptoms go away. Some people actually are allergic to thimerosal and an allergic reaction will be more serious and remarkable enough to call the doctor. If you describe the reaction and the doctor is concerned, or if you go in for a visit and the doctor is concerned, then be concerned. That said: Research (check the CDC, but there are multiple unbiased sources as well) shows that most people who are allergic to thimerosal will not have a reaction when thimerosal is injected under the skin.
Next you have to consider the risks of the actual diseases that vaccinations attempt to reduce the risk of occurring.
The HIB (Haemophilius influenzae) vaccine prevents bacterial meningitis. Before that vaccine’s introduction in 1987, about one in 200 children under five in the United States got Hib meningitis every year, and 600 died of it, while others were left mentally retarded or deaf. Now that people are immunized, incidence of Hib has declined by 98%.
When is the last time anyone saw polio? Maybe with our parents, most certainly our grandparents. With our grandparents it was common to see children, teens, and adults using wheelchairs or iron lungs because they had survived polio. Many, many, many others did not survive polio because polio kills. 13,000-20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported each year before the shot was introduced in 1955. With the introduction of continued use of the polio vaccine it has been virtually eliminated in the United States and the western hemisphere. I say “virtually” because guess what? Poliovirus is incurable. Incurable. It’s contagious during the ten days before the person infected shows any signs of infection. Due to the Anti-Vaccination Movement, polio has in fact been found again in the U.S.
So is measles on a greater scale, another killer when it’s not identified and treated. If it doesn’t kill, it has serious complications. You can look them up if you don’t believe me.
Whooping cough ie Rubella. That’s a really scary one. That one can pass directly from mother to child without Mom ever being the wiser because she thinks she’s the safest person to be around her child and hey, maybe she’s even breastfeeding. But whooping cough can break ribs from coughing so hard. The hard, hacking, whooping cough can last for months.
Chicken pox is dangerous. Look it up… varicella. The one that comes back in adulthood as Shingles and is a motherfucking bitch, especially for someone with Fibromyalgia (can you tell I speak from experience here?). Chicken pox causes: dehydration; pneumonia; bleeding problems; infection or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis, cerebellar ataxia); bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues in children including Group A streptococcal infections; blood stream infections (sepsis); toxic shock syndrome; bone infections; joint infections. It is also proven that people with serious complications from chickenpox can become so sick that they need to be hospitalized. Chickenpox can also cause death. Death. From what you might consider “just some silly childhood disease I had once.” Consider this. While our parents were easing our sores as children from chicken pox and maybe even took us to their friends’ houses because their friends’ children had chicken pox and they wanted us to catch it in order to “get it over with” there were deaths occurring all over the United States and thousands and thousands more deaths around the world. Before modern medicine, it was even more dangerous. And yet still in this day and age deaths still occur from chickenpox in the U.S. in healthy, unvaccinated children and adults. Many of the healthy adults who die from chickenpox contracted the disease from their unvaccinated children. Children who would have been vaccinated at 12-18 months old.
Deadly diseases are making a comeback because we are a global community. People travel all the time from countries where these diseases are still common and they bring them back here to the United States where we think of them as “eradicated.” But guess what? Travelers are carriers. Travelers from those countries visiting here may have those illnesses and not be showing signs of them. They can pass them to your un-vaccinated children. And because you think that these diseases are no big deal or you can rely on herd immunity or the diseases don’t exist any more you’ll be in for a rude awakening when your child ends up in the emergency room and the residents don’t know what they’re looking at.
What I’m saying is that you need to weigh the REAL risk of the illnesses being vaccinated against and the risk of the improbable mild to severe reaction to a vaccination unless there has already been a proven allergic reaction in that same person or their parent or a sibling.
What anti-vacc’ers don’t tell you is that there is a very high population of non-vacc’d children that are autistic. There are adults who were never vacc’d that are autistic. People simply don’t account for better diagnostic criteria, wider diagnostic criteria, parents pushing for diagnoses due to better education about Autism, better there wereducation in specialists about Autism, etc for higher “rates.” Another reason for the higher “rates” is that children are being diagnosed much younger than ever before… children can be accurately diagnosed as early as 2 years old and in many cases, 18 months old although it’s usually older for individuals that have Asperger’s Disorder (usually around 6 years old). Earlier diagnosis means earlier intervention and that means more frequent diagnoses. Another reason for higher rates is that doctors are now recognizing that people that have neurological disorders such as ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Autism, and other neurological disorders can have comorbid diagnoses ie. they may have more than one disorder. Someone who was previously thought to have only Bi-Polar Disorder can also have Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. Several overlapping diagnoses commonly overlap, but very often something is either misdiagnosed as Autism or Autism is missed at first due to another diagnosis.
Another thing rabid anti-vacc’ers won’t tell you are the alternatives to vaccines that have preservatives if you’re on the fence about trusting doctors and pharmaceuticals… but hey, if you’re anti-vaccinating then you probably don’t even think that any vaccines are preservative free at all, do you?
What anti-vacc’ers claiming that vaccines cause Autism injuries won’t tell you is that many of the signs and symptoms of ASD don’t show up or get bad enough for there to be concern until the time that the child would be receiving their 18 month round of vaccinations. In our instance, there were already major signs that we just didn’t even know were signs of ASD but several environmental factors that triggered them to get worse: diet, a major move, a new sibling, changes in routine, and more. I blogged about it actually.
Think about this as well. Those elderly aunts and uncles and grandparents that everyone refers to as “eccentric?” They very well may be autistic. The traits of Autism seen in your child are likely in other family members that “weren’t autistic enough” to be diagnosed as autistic. Or perhaps your child has several traits from several family members that merge together in them, and blend in a melting pot of sorts showing up as Autism. If you have other family members that have neurological disorders such as Seizure Disorder, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, Learning Disorders such as Dyslexia, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Behavioral Disorders, Mathematics Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorder, Apraxia, Aphasia, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Personality Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorders, Auto-immune disorders, Chronic Pain Disorders, Connective Tissue Disorders, and many more… then there is an increased likelihood of one of those disorders and/or Autism occurring within the family.
You may be wondering why I posted this when I did. The fact is that I’ve been putting this together for a while because I’ve been collecting this stuff for a very long time. I have a lot more that I didn’t include. I’m posting it because I have an autistic daughter. She was born with Autism. She had signs of ASD before a single vaccine. She didn’t have any vaccines in the hospital because she had a heart murmur at birth but also because it was the practice of our pediatrician to wait on vaccines in a delayed schedule. We knew AT BIRTH that there were issues. I had a pregnancy with complications and a labor and delivery with complications. There were no interventions other than monitoring and giving me oxygen. During my pregnancy, she showed signs that there would be sensory issues and my OB/GYN commented on her in-utero behavior numerous times. Her autistic symptoms became most enhanced and triggered when we made changes to her diet that removed her from soy and put her on cow’s milk (she’s lactose intolerant). We had a big move to a new home and welcomed a baby sibling. We had enormous changes in the household routine and her routine. Signs of Autism that she had always had became much more pronounced and the language skills she had regressed, as did her toileting. She had global delays in her motor skills except her fine motor skills. She has seizure disorder. Other members in the family also have/had seizure disorder and other neurological disorders. I myself have Fibromyalgia, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder all of which run on my side of the family. We also suspect heavily that there’s undiagnosed Autism on my side of the family. Her symptoms became much, much worse BEFORE the vaccines that are routinely touted as being associated with ASD. She was late getting those vaccines.
But that’s not why I’m posting. I’ve written about my lovely and amazing and smart daughter constantly.
I’m posting this because someone whose opinion I used to value regarding health and nutrition and vaccinations essentially accused me of causing my child’s Autism. So if you’ll please, try to ignore any hostile tone in my post. I was thinking about this person all throughout this post. I kept imagining I was directly speaking to this person. It wasn’t easy maintaining a polite tone, and if I missed the mark and sound hostile I do apologize. Above all else I really and truly believe that every single parent needs to do their own research and come to their own conclusion even if it wouldn’t be the same conclusion I would make. What I would hope is that the resources are actually reliable and not from propaganda sites and opinion pieces, but from scientific studies (even if those scientific studies might contradict what I’ve found). Hell, even if you (general you) looked at all of the exact same research and scientific studies on both sides that I’ve looked at throughout the past 14 years (my eldest daughter is almost 13) and came to a different conclusion I don’t hold that against you. It’s when you sink to the level of Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy and you resort to pseudo-science to back your own claims and then have the nerve to not just imply, but tell me that I CAUSED my child’s Autism on top of implying that you must love your children more than I love my own… that’s crossing a line. And I might get a little hostile.
Oh, and to throw a wrench in things because I can be a bitch like that. Denmark removed all Thimerosal from their vaccines. Can you guess what happened after that? No, really… guess. Their Autism rates increased. Whaaaaat?
Let me close by saying this.
Autism is a person. It is not an injury.
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