I found this blog post while surfing. I am sharing it because it is something that vaccinations are something that I support….and that I am annoyed how people let celebrities trump science. There are many other television celebs that really need to step off screen and shut up.
One of my research papers in nursing school included this topic, specifically, on the topic of Thimerisol (a mercury compound that used to be used as a preservative in vaccinations). This topic was made visible to the masses when Jenny McCarthy presented her son as being autistic as a side effect of receiving vaccinations with Thimerisol. Her desire to champion a cause led her to becoming a mouthpiece to a group of people who do not support vaccinations (sometimes called “anti-vaxxers”) One of the main sources against vaccinations was an English study done by a Dr. Andrew Wakefield. His study was published, presented to the scientific community, and spent about 10 years in the public eye. However, the scientific community questioned the study. A subsequent investigation found that Dr. Wakefield had distorted the data and the study was discredited – even retracted by the British Medicine Journal that originally published the paper. Unfortunately, many decided to continue to embrace the emotion to allow them to ignore the data to continue to vilify vaccinations. As it turns out, Jenny McCarthy has also retracted her stance against vaccinations.
The Thimerisol issue, by the way, was created when the pharmaceutical industry came up with a solution to preserving vaccinations. Early vaccinations, when they were first becoming mass produced, would spoil and either lose efficacy and/or become toxic with contaminants. Thimerisol was discovered to nearly wipe out spoilage, and make vaccinations more stable with a longer shelf life. They were used for decades, but came under scrutiny in the 1970s. Studies were done to see if there was any effect. The research done my many countries, using wide demographic populations, over many years yielded answers. There was either no effect or no direct correlation between the use of Thimerisol and any illnesses/disease (including autism). When I have time later, I will create a resource page to show the articles I found on this (and many other issues).
Yes, Thimerisol is a mercury compound. However, mercury comes in three forms: elemental (think: early thermometers), methyl mercury (see: Minimata disease), and ethyl mercury (does not bioaccumulate, does not share toxicity as other forms of mercury, and has even been shown to be excreted from the body, babies included). Thimerisol, a member in the ethyl mercury group, was still phased out of vaccinations as a precaution. By the time Jenny McCarthy brought this issues to the public, Thimerisol had already been taken out of nearly all vaccines.
Science may not lie, but it can be presented by people who have their own agendas. Even without celebrities like Jenny McCarthy (a nursing school drop-out, btw) muddying the discussion waters, scientists who let either emotion or funding source determine the conclusion of their results is just as damaging. One of the saddest things about this (and related issues) is that there seems to be no shortage of people who do not grasp the value of science. I fear that we are returning to an intellectual age much like that found in the Middle Ages. Messhugganuh.