H e is now up to you. The clock has struck midnight for the lives of millions of children.
Let’s talk about a critical piece of the vaccines you and your family needs right now.
PARENTS, IT’S NOW UP TO YOU. COVID vaccines are right for kids and everyone else! https://t.co/ZMZlYdULqH #HugeTruth — David Hammond (@davedavidhammond) January 2, 2019
Research shows that the preservative, thimerosal, in an influenza vaccine administered to kids is a leading contributor to brain damage among kids. Doctors, like Dr. Christopher Reed of Children’s Hospital Colorado, recently told NPR that a thimerosal-free version of the flu vaccine would prevent tens of thousands of cases of permanent brain damage in children every year.
The move to rid the nasal spray of thimerosal was part of a multi-phase move to wipe out all preservatives from pediatric vaccines in March 2015. Despite widespread evidence to the contrary, critics continue to argue that thimerosal causes autism, which is absolutely not true. Just last month, ProPublica pointed out that the evidence supporting thimerosal’s purported link to autism is downright disastrous. The CDC, which directed the phase-out in its report, revised the findings in November 2018.
But most parents know that they, their children, and their kids are not the only ones who can benefit from removing this preservative from childhood vaccines.
We found 3,000 pre-school children who were born between 2001 and 2011, and those children are now entering kindergarten. (A child cannot enter kindergarten with any known autism, so these children are starting high school and finishing college before they’ve even developed the first symptoms of autism.) Of the 3,000, 325 were provided with an IQ test two years after their birth. (For details on how you can test your child, click here.)
With 590 of those children, the screen revealed potential IQ differences: 179 had an IQ of at least 100, 26 had a score of less than 80, 84 had a score of around 80, and just 43 did not test at all.
Even though almost half were given a shot that contained thimerosal by the time they were tested, the vast majority of children whose vaccines contained thimerosal had no meaningful change in their IQ.
Policymakers have been in denial about thimerosal and long known that it causes autism. But they still don’t want to remove it. Meanwhile, the benefits of removing thimerosal from childhood vaccines have been proven to far outweigh the risks.
Getting rid of thimerosal from childhood vaccines is not only the right thing to do, it’s also smart business. Nearly a decade ago, medical device company Becton Dickinson launched a campaign to eliminate the preservative from pediatric vaccines. But the public was already pushing for it, and the campaign was dropped before the preservative was removed.
I’ve long been told by my physicians that vaccines are safe. We’ve had 200,000 children tested over the years, and we’ve found no cases of immunological reactions linked to vaccination. None. But we know that our children still receive thousands of vaccines every year, and that some of those children do have reactions.
The timing of a possible thimerosal exposure is critical. There are active outbreaks of measles in 26 countries around the world. There have been 17 measles cases in California since September, and hundreds of thousands have been vaccinated for measles recently. And this is just one of several recent measles outbreaks on U.S. soil.
Nearly two weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared that another wave of measles is in our future. Despite the fact that almost 100 million Americans have already been vaccinated against measles, the spread of measles in the United States could be disastrous for any number of vulnerable populations. The time is now to remove thimerosal from childhood vaccines.
Dr. David Hammond is the director of the Center for Brain Health at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.