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Commentary

Don't fear the vaccines
The Globe and Mail, 7-25-05

The Globes editorial weighs in on the controversy we highlighted last week surrounding the supposed link between thimerosal and autism. That link is unproven, the Globe notes, and fearful parents should trust the weight of scientific evidence rather than fall prey to media scare-mongering:

Understandably, parents worry about rising rates of autism and behavioural disorders. Autism rates rose sharply in the 1990s in the U.S., at the same time that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, was being used in childhood vaccines in that country. But no credible evidence has emerged to link thimerosal and autism, notwithstanding the conspiracy-laced theories of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and some others south of the border. It may be that the apparent increase in the autism rate (to one in 200 children from one in 1,000 three decades ago) owes much to an expanded definition of autism. No one knows.
Canadians are aghast when, in far-away countries such as Nigeria, diseases on the verge of extinction such as polio rise again after community leaders declare vaccines to be part of a deadly U.S. plot. Canadians need to make sure that knowledge continues to trump irrational fear at home.


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