Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oklahoma latest state to produce vaccine legislation

Okla. latest state to produce vaccine legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma has joined a host of states considering legislation to limit the amount of mercury in childhood vaccines. Though there is no conclusive evidence linking thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative found in some vaccines, to increasing diagnosis of autism in children, concern over the potential harm has moved several states to pass laws limiting the amount of mercury permitted in childhood vaccines.

Senate Bill 1407, by state Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, was approved by the full Senate last week on a bipartisan vote of 27 to 17, and will next be considered in the state House of Representatives. The bill would create a new law, limiting the amount of mercury permitted in vaccines for children less than three years of age and knowingly pregnant women to 0.5 micrograms per 0.5 milliliter dose, or in the case of flu vaccines, 0.625 micrograms per 0.25 milliliter dose.

Concern over mercury in vaccines administered to children has been growing for years. The controversy reached the mainstream with the publication in 2005 of the best-selling book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controvery by New York Times reporter David Kirby.

“There is no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site,” according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.

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