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Childhood Vaccines Save Lives, March Of Dimes Says
Date:1/29/2008

Urges Parents to Get Children Vaccinated, Despite Scare in ABC's "Eli Stone"

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The March of Dimes and seven former directors of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today urged parents not to be frightened of childhood vaccines by the suggestion in an upcoming episode of the ABC-TV drama, "Eli Stone" that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal -- which is no longer used in vaccines -- may lead to autism.

"The implication that vaccinations cause autism is irresponsible and counter productive," said Michael Katz, M.D., senior vice president for Research and Global Programs for the March of Dimes. "Although this is just a television show, and not reality, it may scare parents into not having their children immunized, leaving them vulnerable to serious disease, disability, and even death."

Seven former directors of the CDC -- Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., MPH; David Satcher, M.D., PhD.; William L. Roper, M.D. MPH; James O. Mason, M.D., MPH; William H. Foege, M.D., MPH; David J. Sencer, M.D., MPH; and James L. Goddard, M.D., MPH -- supported Dr. Katz' statement.

Although several carefully performed scientific studies have searched for a link between autism and the use of thimerosal in vaccines, no such link has been found. Nevertheless, since 2002, all routine childhood vaccines given in the United States have been free of thimerosal. In fact, a study by the California State Public Health Department, published in the January 2008 issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, determined that reported autism cases in California continued to climb even after thimerosal was removed from vaccines. The researchers noted that if there had been a risk from the vaccines, autism rates should have dropped.

The March of Dimes says vaccinations are safe and effective in protecting unborn babies, newborns, children, and adults against very serious, life-threatenin
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SOURCE March of Dimes
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