California Suspends Ban on Mercury in Vaccines
By Estee Lee
The California Aggie
(U-WIRE) DAVIS, Calif. — In light of a possible shortage of mercury-free vaccines in California, Secretary of California Health and Human Services Kimberly Belshe decided on Nov. 2 to suspend the law requiring the manufacturing of vaccines without mercury for the next six weeks.
“The health threat that seasonal influenza presents is severe and all too often deadly,” Belshe stated in a press release. “Given the real constraints on availability of mercury-free seasonal flu vaccine, we feel it is important to offer this short-term alternative ... to ensure young children are protected from the potentially severe effects of the flu.”
The law, which was ratified by Gov. Schwarzenegger in September 2004, took effect in July of this year, prohibiting the administration of vaccines containing mercury to women who know they are pregnant and to children younger than three years of age.
The law was prompted by the suspicion of the connection between mercury and autism. Although studies conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not find conclusive evidence linking the mercury-based preservative thimerosal to autism in children, several public health organizations still recommended reducing unnecessary exposure to mercury.
According to Rick Rollens, co-founder of the UC Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Ddisorders Institute, thimerosal is an antibacterial agent used to prevent the contamination of vaccine vials used for more than one needle. The compound is about 50 percent mercury.
As the father of an autistic child and an active leader in the battle against autism, Rollens feels that mercury should be avoided for the neurotoxin that it is. He explained that the substance, once injected into the body, bypasses the immune system; he further stated that it could be a contributing factor to autism and other neurological disorders.
At this time, only one manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, makes vaccines that comply with California's new regulations. It was reported that the company was experiencing shipment delays and therefore causing the shortage in California.
In a letter to chairman, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, Dave Williams, Gov. Schwarzenegger stated, “Due to production and/or shipment delays by your company, California is experiencing a shortfall ... Given the severe health threat that seasonal influenza presents, this delay could have deadly consequences.”
According to the California Health and Human Services Agency, approximately 36,000 people in the United States die from influenza and its complications each year. During the 2004 flu season, more than 150 children in the U.S. died from the disease.
“No other vaccine-preventable disease kills more people in this country,” Belshe stated.
Despite the temporary suspension of the ban, Belshe said the state is still committed to the full implementation of this law and urges the building of new production plants to process mercury-free vaccines.
November 10, 2006
Cali Slides Back Into Mercury Vaccines for Children
Parents now assume their kids are getting Hg free shots. It is not the case. ALWAYS check the label.