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Issues of Interest > Thimerosal
Surgeon General's Statement on Thimerosal
Assistant Secretary for Health
Department of Health and Human Services
by David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.
of this page was accurate only during this
Vaccines, approved for use in the United States, have been protecting our nation's children from deadly infectious diseases since
our grandparent's generation. In fact,
vaccines can be credited for saving more lives and preventing more illnesses than any
medical treatment. Without question, continuing to ensure our children are vaccinated with
licensed vaccines is critical to protect their health and to prevent disease outbreaks.
FDA considers all vaccines currently available to be safe and effective.
It is essential that children continue to receive all vaccines according to currently
recommended schedules. The risk of devastating childhood diseases like whooping cough,
bacterial meningitis, tetanus, polio and diphtheria is real.
Physicians and parents should be reassured that continuing to vaccinate infants, within
the flexibility of today's schedule, is the
best way to protect infants from devastating childhood diseases. Although the United
States enjoys some of the lowest levels of disease, the disease causing organisms still
circulate among us. Terrible childhood diseases like whooping cough, bacterial meningitis,
polio, and diphtheria are waiting for us to let our guard down. The risk of devastating
childhood diseases from failure to vaccinate far outweighs the minimal, if any, risk of
exposure to cumulative levels of mercury in vaccines. The choice to vaccinate infants with
these vaccines is a sound one.
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