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Institute for Vaccine Safety

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Thimerosal Update: Institute of Medicine Undertakes Review of Thimerosal-containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

On Monday, July 16, 2001 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Immunization Safety Review Committee provided a forum for presentations regarding thimerosal and other forms of mercury as possible causes of neurodevelopmental defects in children. Presentations were made by representatives from the FDA, CDC, NIH, health policy analysts, toxicologists, epidemiologists, neurologists, and representatives from concerned parents’ organizations.

A transcript of the entire meeting, audio of each presentation and copies of the slide presentations, are available on the IOM website, including the presentation by Neal Halsey, the director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety entitled, "Commentary on Thimerosal Risk from the Perspective of a Pediatric Vaccinologist". Dr. Halsey’s slide presentation is also available on this website. 

The IOM's Immunization Safety Review Committee has made it's findings available.  Click here to go to the publication - "Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (2001)".

Details regarding additional planned studies for follow-up of children exposed to different levels of ethylmercury from vaccines were presented, but at this time, funding hasn’t been identified to support these studies. Public support is needed to ensure that the highest quality scientific studies are conducted to provide definitive answers to the questions about potential harm from the thimerosal that was administered to children prior to the recent cessation of production of vaccines containing thimerosal as a preservative for use in children less than 6 months of age.

 


A brief write-up of the IOM meeting appeared in The Lancet [July 21, 2001;358(9277):214].  The article, as published and as originally posted on The Lancet's website, contained inaccurate information and a misquote of Dr. Halsey - errors which were pointed out in a letter to the editor of the journal. The editor has apologized and a correction was issued in the 4 August 2001 edition [Lancet 2001;358(9279):424]: available online after 7 August 2001 (with subscription) at www.thelancet.com.

 

This page was last updated on August 08, 2012

Institute for Vaccine Safety