Remember the hub-bub over thimerosal - the vaccine preservative that many thought was connected to autism? Ten years ago, parents demanded that the preservative be removed from vaccines after a British study concluded that it might in some way be connected to the onset of autism. Over the years, countless large studies have disproved this original study and found no link between the preservative and autism. Experts even found and proved that the original study was flawed and possibly even intentionally biased. And further studies found that removing thimerosal in the U.S.... and Europe did nothing to change autism rates in those regions.
In the U.S..., thimerosal is not used in any vaccines that are distributed in single-dose vials, with the exception of certain types of flu shots. But in countries with fewer resources - such as electricity and refrigeration - and where many children still die from diseases that could have been prevented with a vaccine, it's cheaper and easier for health care workers to use multi-dose vials of vaccines. Using thimerosal in the vaccine helps to prevent the remainder of a vaccine from becoming contaminated with bacteria or fungi each time a dose is used.
Still, some humanitarian groups, such as the U.S...-based SafeMinds have argued that it is unethical to allow thimerosal in vaccines headed to developing nations while removing it from vaccines in the U.S.... and Europe.
But experts argue that banning thimerosal could increase the cost of vaccines for developing nations by anywhere from two to five times and make transporting and storing vaccines that much more difficult as well. The bottom line: Kids could die.
And that seem pretty unethical to me.
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