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Are wolves in sheep's clothing trying to pull the wool over our eyes? by Sandy Gottstein

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Are we in the "twilight zone", or what?  As the evidence against thimerosal, the mercury which contaminates infant vaccines and is supposedly being phased out (but not recalled - and why not?), mounts, "Public Health" announces that flu vaccine is now "encouraged" for infants, with the expectation being that it will soon be "recommended".

The justification for doing so remains elusive at best.  Infants have historically had few significant problems with the flu - they have never been considered at high-risk for serious flu complications.  Either they still are not considered at high-risk, and thus have no business getting the flu vaccine, or for some as yet unknown reason are now at high-risk, and we should do everything in our power to understand the reasons for this change.  What we should not be doing is cavalierly adding another vaccine to the already heavy infant vaccine schedule, without understanding if it is true that infants can no longer handle the flu and why.  The "why" is as important as the "if", because if, as some people suspect, it is the vaccines themselves that are undermining infant immune systems, adding the flu vaccine could well end up contributing to the very problem it is supposedly designed to prevent.

While this new policy is allegedly based on two New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) studies which purport to show that flu hits infants harder than previously thought (although not causing deaths), it begs the question:  "Who paid for these studies?"  (Remember, the NEJM is the journal that just gave up on trying to control conflict of interest.)

But it also ignores reservations voiced in an NEJM editorial : "Both studies, but particularly that of Izurieta and colleagues, leave considerable uncertainty about whether influenza is responsible for all, or even most, of the excess morbidity that is attributed to it.....To justify routine influenza vaccination of infants and toddlers, however, the benefit-risk ratio would need to be very high, given the relatively small proportion of cases of severe respiratory illness that would be prevented, the probable need for more than one dose, the uncertainties and unpredictability of antigenic variability, and need to immunize during a period when many other vaccines are given."  Others have expressed similar concerns.

And what, no suggestion that breastfeeding be prolonged to minimize whatever risk may exist?

It is the fact that there is mercury in the flu vaccine, however, that makes this move by the Centers for Disease Control's "Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices" (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cross the line from being "merely" senseless and irresponsible to shocking.

Why would a vaccine that contains mercury be even suggested, let alone encouraged, for infants, when there has been an official joint statement calling for its removal from all infant vaccines? 

What will happen if this vaccine is used and autism doesn't go down?  Will the "experts" then confidently  say, "See, we removed the mercury and there is still autism", when in fact it hasn't really been removed?  Is there method to this madness?

Who will this vaccine really benefit, other than the vaccine manufacturers and those with financial ties to them? 

Sandy Gottstein

Date: 6-28-2002