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Thimerosal / Toxic Vaccines?: What You Should Know

Toxic Vaccines?: What You Should Know
May 5, 2004-- Waterloo

      On our KWWL News at Six on Tuesday, we introduced you to little Dallin Harper, who has health problems his doctor says were caused by Thimerosal, a vaccine preservative which contains mercury.  On the other hand, the Director for the Black Hawk County Health Department says vaccines are safe and you could be putting your child in harms way if you decide not to vaccinate them.

"Any medicine or vaccine that is strong enough to help you, is strong enough to hurt you," says Tom O'Rourke, the director of the Black Hawk County Health Department.

      O'Rourke says the debate over whether Thimerosal causes autism in children is not a new concept.

      "First heard about concern with the vaccines in the early 1980's, in conjunction with measles vaccines for the same reasons.  There was some concern, some fear of a connection between the vaccine and some childhood diseases, primarily autism,"  O'Rourke says.

      There was so much concern, the Iowa House and Senate passed a bill this year banning the use of Thimerasol in childhood vaccines.  The State Epidemiologist says the new legislation will change how vaccines are made.

      "They're making vials where you only go in once, you take the vaccine out, you use it, and then that vial is thrown away.  So, at that point you don't have to have a preservative in it because you are not going back into it several times.  But what this has done is raised the price of vaccines," according to Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, State Epidemiologist.

      The price increase means you'll pay about three dollars more for a flu shot.  Rebecca Harper says making the change is priceless.  Her son Dallin's medical bills, over the last three years, total more than $80,000.  Multiple health problems, including autism, she says were caused by Thimerosal in vaccines.

      "It's just money and its our little boy's health.  We took something away from him when we vaccinated him, so if we can restore something with a little bit of debt, we are willing to do that for him," said Rebecca Harper, Dallin's mother.

      Health experts say there are always risks when getting vaccines but parents should not be afraid to vaccinate their child.  The bill banning Thimerosal is still waiting for Governor Vilsack's signature.