HONOLULU, HI. – The Hawaii Medical Association (HMA) urges the Legislature to uphold Gov. Linda Lingle’s intended veto of SB2133, SD2, HD2, CD1 Relating to Health, which would limit and then eventually ban the use of mercury-containing vaccines in Hawaii.

HMA has issued this statement in light of reports that Hawaii Union leaders are pushing Democratic legislators to call a special session in order to override all of the governor’s intended vetoes and as a show of unification and strength of the Democratic Party.

HMA is appealing to legislators to uphold a veto of the thimerosal ban, which is in the best interest of the health and safety of Hawaii’s citizens, and not to allow politics to interfere with sound public health policy.

On June 27, 2006, HMA and the Hawaii Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (HAAP) issued a joint statement thanking Gov. Lingle for the announcement that she intends to veto SB2133, SD2, HD2, CD1 Relating to Health. HMA and HAAP thanked the Governor for listening to the medical community, which overwhelmingly opposed this bill.

HMA and HAAP support Gov. Lingle’s veto because scientific evidence has failed to confirm fears that the ethylmercury in thimerosal causes any harm and because banning the substance will create a shortage in the supply of pediatric flu vaccine for the upcoming season.

The U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control — http://www.cdc.gov — have established that thimerosal creates no imminent or substantial hazard to public health. Further, in 2004, a report by The Institutes of Medicine (IOM) concluded that there is no association between autism and vaccines that contain thimerosal as a preservative.

In July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies (PHS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal levels in vaccines should be reduced or eliminated as a precautionary measure, not because there was scientific evidence of harm, but because there was fear of harm that might cause some parents not to have their children vaccinated.

Currently, there is not enough thimerosal -ree pediatric flu vaccine for the upcoming flu season. Banning thimerosal-containing vaccines now guarantees that a dangerous shortage in pediatric flu vaccine will occur. Both very young and very old people are at the highest risk of dying or having other serious effects from the flu.

”’Paula Arcena is the executive director of the Hawaii Medical Association, a professional, membership organization for physicians, residents, and medical students in the State of Hawaii. Reach her via email at”’ mailto:paula_arcena@hma-assn.org ”’See more at”’ http://www.hmaonline.net

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