A week ago, a Louisiana state senator linked vaccines to autism on the floor of the chamber. Sam Karlin reports at The Advocate:
State Sen. John Milkovich, a Shreveport Democrat, used a bill that would expand a voluntary statewide immunization database as an opportunity to launch into a diatribe about vaccines, which he suggested are dangerous and cause autism.
Vaccines, which do not cause autism, are “incredibly well studied” because of the “myths” surrounding their links with autism, said Dr. Joe Kanter, assistant state health officer with the Louisiana Department of Health.
“We’re trying really hard to counter that with outreach and education,” Kanter said.
Milkovich claimed “autism did not exist” when he was growing up, and that “tissue from aborted babies is now used in vaccines.” He also suggested aluminum and mercury in vaccines are dangerous.
“Many of you may know some of the leading researchers in America say that autism is a result of vaccination,” Milkovich said. “Did you know tissue from aborted babies is now used in vaccines. Did you know that vaccines use aluminum which is shown to be a neurotoxin? Did you know vaccines in America is preserved often with mercury, which is beyond neurotoxic?”Jonathon Freeman at myarklamiss.com:
"It is not that vaccines are causing Autism. We just gone from a very small criteria of what is Autism to a larger spectrum," said Lindsey Fortenberry, nurse practitioner Health Care Express.
Addressing one of those misconceptions of mercury being in vaccinations, Fortenberry said Milkovich was refering to a perservative ingredient used in making vaccines called Thimerosal that allows for larger quantities to be shipped. However, Thimerosal was removed from all vaccines in 2001. Except for the multi-vial dose of the flu vaccine.
"In the year 2000, one in 150 children were diagnosed with Autism. As of this year, about one and 68 children are diagnosed with Autism. Now if you related that to my comment that Thimerosal was removed from all vaccines in 2001 and we've seen an almost double fold in the amount of cases of Autism. That doesn't really correlate well. I would ask the Senator not only show where that research came from to show that the Thimerosal causing these problems when there's been no Thimerosal in these vaccines since 2001. I think that's the most important thing, if you ever speak out about something just to know what you're talking about and to make sure your source is reliable and be very educated on what you're speaking about before you speak about it," Fortenberry said.
According to the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, several vaccines, including the one for chickenpox, are produced by growing the virus inside of human cells. However, those human cells come from two cell lines from that were obtained legally in the 1960s. Since then, the cells grow independently and do not require further cell lines. They were descendent cells, not the cells of aborted fetuses.