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article imageRobert F. Kennedy Jr. re-opens the vaccine-autism controversy Special

By Ken Wightman     Mar 25, 2010 in Health
London - Robert F. Kennedy Jr. still questions the role mercury-containing thimerosal, found in some vaccines administered to kids under two, may play in the formation of childhood autism.
You may have thought the link between vaccines and autism had been broken with the recent news that Dr. Andrew Wakefield had been branded “dishonest”, “unethical” and “callous” by the UK General Medical Council in Great Britain. Wakefield is the doctor credited by many for triggering the worldwide questioning of the safety of childhood vaccinations.
His research, published in The Lancet in 1998, was found to be fraudulent and The Lancet has now fully retracted the Wakefield paper. The New York Times editorialized, “We hope that The Lancet’s belated retraction will finally lay this damaging myth about autism and vaccines to rest.”
The NYT can stop hoping as the belief is alive and well and made an appearance Wednesday night in London, Ontario, when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was asked a question concerning his position on the vaccine-autism link. Kennedy made it clear that the debate continues.
Kennedy said there is “a strong enough connection that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States) should be looking into it.” It being the link between vaccines, and the thimerosal additive that some vaccines contain, and the apparent great increase in cases of autism.
Thimerosal contains a form of mercury and is used as a preservative in certain vaccines. According to Kennedy “the flu vaccine is loaded.” (It must be noted that many others would argue that there is only a trace amount of thimerosal found in some flu vaccines and the mercury-containing ingredient has been removed from many other vaccines where it once could be found.)
Kennedy went into great detail about the autism rate of Pennsylvania’s large Amish community. He said Amish kids do not receive vaccinations. “UPI (United Press International) did a study of the Amish and found only three cases of autism in Lancaster, PA. All were in adopted children who had received their vaccinations prior to adoption,” Kennedy said.
Despite cutting the question and answer period short as he was losing his voice  Robert F. Kennedy J...
Despite cutting the question and answer period short as he was losing his voice, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. got a loud and long standing ovation Wednesday night at the UWO in London, Ontario, Canada.
He said, “The epidemic is real,” in reference to reports that the great increase in autism cases is simply “an artifact of reporting.” In years past autism affected possibly one in 2500 children. Today, according to Kennedy, the rate is closer to one in a hundred.
Kennedy talked at length about a Dr. Poul Thorsen, whom, he said, was a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote several of the key studies supporting the CDC’s stand that thimerosal-containing vaccines can be safely given to children.
The accuracy of the work with which Thorsen was associated is questioned by those opposed to the present vaccination approach, especially when it comes to children. (For another look at Robert F. Kennedy’s take on all this, I refer you to his Huffington Post article.)
Kennedy said kids today receive up to 22 vaccines before the age of 2. He questioned the wisdom of subjecting such young children to so many vaccinations. The research is out there, he said, but the “data is hidden.”
“Why don’t we study this?” Kennedy asked.
More about Robert kennedy, Vaccine, Autism, Thimerosal
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