My grandchildren were given the usual vaccines as babies. Both boys have diagnosed learning and behavior disabilities and recurring health problems. Our girl is sensitive to chemicals in cleaning and bath products. I am not saying, without a doubt, this is all or even partially due to vaccines. What I am saying is there are things that are seriously affecting the health of Americans.
Why I am grateful to Alicia Ruth’s letter is that she took the time to research and let your readers know about the mercury/thimerosal and/or aluminum in US vaccines, and that Japan and Sweden both have banned US vaccines for being dangerous. Do we hear about this in America’s mainstream media? No! I do believe Big Pharma is making us sick. A lot of what they peddle to us seniors for instance, in my opinion, is criminal.
Maybe enough letters like Alicia Ruth’s will wake us up! Thank you Alibi for printing letters like hers and giving your readers a voice.
Kay Stillman, Mountainair
Alibi is always happy to provide a forum for our readers to sound off. That’s the point of a letters page. Our hope is that a spirited community dialogue will be ignited by the free exchange of ideas—even the ones we don’t necessarily agree with.
To be clear, however: Alibi stands behind the evidence-based support for vaccinations. We know, for example, there is no scientific evidence for the idea that thimerosal (an antiseptic and antifungal agent used in everything from contact lens solution to tattoo ink) in vaccines causes autism. According to the Center for Disease Control, “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.” We are aware that thimerosal was taken out of all childhood vaccinations back in 2001 based on popular fears. The scientific consensus is that these fears are unfounded. Neither the World Health Organization nor the United Nations have recommended banning the compound, and it is widely used outside of the United States in multi-dose vaccines. (Single-dose vaccines do not require it.)
We also know that Sweden and Japan have not “banned US vaccinations for being too dangerous.” In 2017 the Swedish parliament rejected two proposals calling for mandatory vaccinations. They did so because all medical care in Sweden is voluntary and because nationwide compliance with childhood vaccinations in already extraordinarily high—more than 97 percent of children over the age of 2 have received the MMR vaccine, for example. The US, in comparison, hovers near 90 percent—and the number of children who receive no vaccines whatsoever has quadrupled in the US since 2001.
Japan, on the other hand, does have a history of going back and forth on the necessity of vaccines, with very low nationwide immunization numbers. In 2016 the country switched from using a combined MMR vaccine (because the mumps strain it used caused some children to develop aseptic meningitis—not because it contained thimerosal). Japan now uses individual measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. (As a result, Japan is currently fighting its worst measles outbreak in more than a decade.) In 2013 the country’s health ministry suspended its “recommendation” that all girls in their early teens receive an HPV vaccine—based on fears that the vaccine could cause “chronic pain and movement disorders in humans.” Since then, numerous court cases have fought over this issue. But to be clear, Japan has not “banned” any vaccines, American or otherwise.
We are not saying, of course, that all vaccines or medicines peddled to the American public by the pharmaceutical industry are necessary, safe or guaranteed not to have side effects. Not by a long shot. (All we have to do is look at the current opioid crisis to know that.) But the benefits of regular childhood immunizations against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox and penumococcal disease far outweigh any potential detriment to individual health.
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