March 7th, 2008
02:37 PM ET

Parents in vaccine case still see good in shots


Hannah Poling

I had a chance to meet the Poling family last night. Their 9-year-old daughter Hannah was diagnosed with "symptoms of autism spectrum disorder" and the government has recommended the federal vaccine court pay the family compensation (read more about Hannah's underlying condition here). Dr. Jon Poling, a neurologist, and Terry Poling, a nurse, are Hannah's parents. With all that has happened (watch video of Hannah's father talking about her reaction to the vaccinations) to their daughter, they still made it very clear they are not anti-vaccine. They agree, as most people do, that vaccines have been a great medical accomplishment and have saved and improved countless lives. The question they seem to raise, though, are they as safe as they can be?

I want to continue the discussion today. Couple of points. First of all, it seems as if parents bring up concerns about vaccines, they are automatically portrayed as anti-vaccine. Why is that? Is it possible to completely believe in the power and benefits of vaccines, but still have legitimate and credible concerns?

Given that thimerosal, the mercury-laden preservative, is now essentially out of vaccines (it may be present in trace amounts according to the FDA) except for flu vaccines, does that put that issue to rest for you? Or, do you believe there is something about the vaccines themselves – even without the thimerosal – that might be problematic? And, what would you do about it? Split up the shots? Delay them?

– Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent
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Filed under: Autism • Dr. Sanjay Gupta
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