SILVER SPRING, Md., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- CoMeD – In a scientific paper published in the peer-reviewed Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, researchers with the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD) call for the establishment of one global standard of vaccine safety.
"We recognize the importance of vaccination programs and want all children to benefit from vaccines," CoMeD President Rev. Lisa K. Sykes explains. "However, giving children in developing nations shots with a toxic ingredient that was largely discontinued in the U.S. a decade ago is unethical."
Sykes refers to Thimerosal, 49.55% mercury, used as a preservative. In 1998, Thimerosal was banned from American over-the-counter products. While still in several U.S. influenza shots, Thimerosal has been removed from other early childhood vaccines, ranging from tetanus to hepatitis B, since 2003 in the U.S. and other developed countries. Yet, manufacturers, including Sanofi Pasteur, Merck, and GSK, currently produce mercury-free or mercury-reduced vaccines for the U.S. while producing vaccines with unreduced levels of Thimerosal for developing countries.
Sykes and her co-authors were motivated by the failure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish a maximum safe exposure limit for Thimerosal, as well as the failure of the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury, negotiated through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to include vaccines among mercury-containing products to be regulated. Sykes et al. allege that public health officials are discriminating against developing nations by sanctioning a double standard for vaccine safety. Recent scientific studies from Brazil and China confirm Thimerosal harms children.
Viable and much safer alternatives to Thimerosal have been in use in the U.S. for over 70 years. Furthermore, a Pfizer study showed that at least one alternative has "superior antimicrobial effectiveness over Thimerosal."
Dr. Janet Kern of the Institute of Chronic Illnesses described the issue of equality in regard to vaccines: "The World Health Organization (WHO) and Bill Gates, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, promote equal access to vaccines for all children. Now we need to promote one global standard of vaccine safety to protect all children from vaccine mercury."
Sykes and her colleagues will launch the Mercury Free Baby campaign in Louisville, KY, on April 25-26 at the United Methodist Women's Assembly to educate parents about choosing mercury-free vaccines and dental fillings. More information can be viewed at www.mercuryfreebaby.org.
SOURCE Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD)