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Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Childhood Vaccines: An Update

I recently received an e-mail from Professor Ross Silverman (happily tenured) at the Southernn Illinois University School of Medicine.  He had written an article earlier concerning the debate over the safety of childhood vaccines and statutory exemptions in the Annals of Health Law.  The piece is entilted, "No More Kidding Around:  Restructuring Non-Medical Childhood Immunization Exemptions to Protect Public Health." (Hein Online)  He will be working to update to that piece as new data has become available.  For our purposes, right now, however, he has reviewed the Robert Kennedy article in Salon.com, which I had referred to earlier on June 20th.  He has this to say: 

On the Rolling Stone/Salon piece: to put it mildly, it's a bunch of unbalanced bunk. It may be prettily packaged in a conspiracy theory cloak, but the claims are either inaccurate, incomplete (he does a lot of quote cherrypicking), or have been widely refuted by mountains of sound research.

He refers to several links that provide some more detailed de-bunking of the Kennedy article. 

http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2005/06/thimerosal_corr.html
http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/06/saloncom-flushes-its-credibility-down.html
http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/06/robert_f_kenned.html

Professor Silverman also adds, "But unfortunately, it appears that the Kennedy name is going to get this far more publicity than those who refute his assertions can ever hope to achieve."

I must admit, I am a little worried that parents will stop having their children vaccinated, especially since the story will appear on the ABC News and get even more publicity.  Thanks to Professor Silverman for his research in this area and for sharing his knowledge with us on this article.  [bm]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2005/06/childhood_vacci.html

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