- Pregnant women everywhere know the feeling of making
it to the milestone of their second trimester. For most, queasiness starts
to subside, energy returns in spurts, and of course there is that indescribable
feeling of becoming aware of your developing baby's movements.
- You've altered your diet, exercised, stayed away from
over the counter medications, your true hair color is revealing itself,
and that wonderful bottle of wine with the Surgeon General's warning will
continue stay buried in the back of the refrigerator awaiting the skinnier
- You ask yourself, "Is there anything more that I
can do for me and my baby during the remainder of my pregnancy?" Well,
according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the federal government's
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) there is - get the
flu vaccine before this year's flu season hits. According to the CDC and
ACIP, it was estimated that an average of 1 to 2 hospitalizations among
pregnant women could be prevented for every 1,000 pregnant women immunized.
(Prevention and Control of Influenza: Recommendations of ACIP. MMWR - May
1, 1998; 47)
- My initial pregnant maternally protective hormonal response
to this was utter disbelief. How could a biological pharmaceutical product
be recommended for routine use for all healthy second and third trimester
pregnant women? As I looked into this further, I became outraged and inspired
to share the truth with pregnant women so they could make up their own
minds. Here is what I found.
- There are four drug manufacturers for this year's flu
vaccine. The product package inserts published by the manufacturers state
the disclaimer that "Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted
with influenza virus vaccine. It is also not known whether influenza virus
vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman...Although
animal reproductive studies have not been conducted, the prescribing health-care
provider should be aware of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee
on Immunization Practices...The ACIP states that, if used during pregnancy,
administration of influenza virus vaccine after 14 weeks of gestation may
be preferable to avoid coincidental association of the vaccine with early
- Additional reading and phone calls to the manufacturers
confirmed that all four flu vaccines contain thimerosal, a mercury derivative
preservative banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in over-the-counter
(OTC) drug preparations because of questions over safety. (Federal Register:
April 22, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 77)][Page 19799-19802].
- On July 7, 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
and the United States Public Health Service (PHS) issued a joint statement
that because of the "neuro-developmental effects posed by exposure
to thimerosal", "thimerosal-containing vaccines should be removed
as soon as possible." The PHS and AAP recognized that because of thimerosal
in vaccines, some children would be exposed to "a cumulative level
of mercury over the first six months of life that exceeds one of the federal
guidelines on methyl mercury." Hospitals around the country responded
this summer by halting the administration of the thimerosal containing
vaccine for hepatitis B at birth, deferring vaccination until the baby
is older and more developed. What about my beloved little baby that isn't
even developed enough to live outside the womb yet?
- A quick internet search showed that even the CDC, in
a revealing self-contradiction at another location, posted "Q. Who
is most vulnerable to mercury? A. Two groups are most vulnerable to methyl
mercury: the fetus and children ages 14 and younger." (http://www.cdc.gov/nip/Q&A/genqa/Thimerosal.htm)
More searching on the National Library of Medicine site almost effortlessly
produced hundreds of articles and studies in medical and scientific journals
clearly documenting the damaging effects of prenatal exposure to mercury.
The results of one recent study published in the August 1, 1999 issue
of the American Journal of Epidemiology stated that "the greatest
susceptibility to methylmercury neurotoxicity occurs during late gestation,
while early postnatal vulnerability is less" which is the precise
point in time that ACIP and the CDC is recommending we get the shot.
- I then decided to call the CDC's Influenza Division myself,
as a pregnant mother baffled by this scientifically unfounded and potentially
unsafe recommendation. Maybe I was missing something that an "expert"
could reveal for me. I was told that there was no scientific proof that
the flu vaccine caused fetal harm. Well of course not, the manufacturers
are right up front when they state that this hasn't been studied - isn't
that convenient. I was also told that the CDC had no intention to change
the recommendation for pregnant women because of thimerosal. The doctor
blamed the recent concerns on "politics" rather than science.
What a shame.
- Even though the CDC does claim that a single study of
a small number of pregnant women have demonstrated no adverse fetal effects
associated with influenza vaccine; they continue and say, "however,
more data are needed." Maybe this scientifically unsubstantiated recommendation
is how the CDC plans on getting that data. So much for the Nazi war criminal
trials at Nuremberg outlawing human experimentation without informed consent.
- While I would absolutely hate to be one of the 1 in 1000
pregnant women needing to go to the hospital for the flu this winter, at
this point, I feel far more threatened by the public health bureaucrats
recklessly willing to experiment on me and my unborn child with a flu vaccine
not proven safe for my baby.
- To receive email updates on vaccine safety and informed
consent issues, write to email@example.com
- Permission to distribute and print in whole and unedited
- Dawn Richardson
- President, PROVE (Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education)
- P.O. Box 1071
- Cedar Park, TX 78630-1071
- (512) 918-8760
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
- http://home.swbell.net/prove (web site)