Archive for Sunday, July 27, 2003

Meeting about vaccines disappoints mother

July 27, 2003

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A Lawrence mother pushing for greater awareness of the alleged dangers of thimerosal in childhood vaccines said she was disappointed after a meeting with members of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' administration.

Bobbie Manning, Lawrence, and Kelly Kerns, of Lenexa, met for about an hour Friday with Sebelius' legislative liaison, Jennifer Crow, and an official of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Manning said Crow appeared interested in the presentation in which Manning and Kerns alleged that thimerosal, a mercury compound, had been linked to autism and other neurological disorders. Both parents have autistic children.

But the KDHE official offered documentation to try to debunk their arguments.

"It was insulting," Manning said.

"They had a packet of information downloaded this morning off the computer," she said. A spokesperson for KDHE did not return a telephone call to respond to Manning's comments.

The information provided by KDHE was nothing Manning said she hadn't seen before -- government and industry officials denying the link between thimerosal and neurological disorders, and denying thimerosal is still used in vaccines.

After the meeting, Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran-Basso said, "Kansas relies on federal information, and based on that information, Kansas vaccines are thimerosal-free."

Manning, and an increasing number of parents and politicians, allege government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry have been involved in a cover-up about the dangers of the substance.

And, they allege, thimerosal is still present in some vaccines such as that for Hepatitis B.

"We gave them information. If they chose to ignore it and allow children to be put at risk, they do so willingly," Manning said.

Earlier in the week, Manning and parents from around the nation gathered in Washington to lobby Congress and raise awareness about autism and thimerosal.

Two weeks ago, Manning and other Kansas parents met for three hours with Atty. Gen. Phill Kline's staff, saying they would like attorneys general nationwide to sue pharmaceutical companies to recover the costs of caring for children with neurological disorders allegedly caused by thimerosal.

Kline said he would look into their complaints before deciding what, if anything, he would do.

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