Study supports vaccine safety

A new study from Italy affirms that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, once used in many vaccines, doesn't hurt children. Researchers examined 1,403 children who, as babies, were given two different amounts of thimerosal from all their other routine shots as part of a randomized study of whooping cough vaccines conducted in the early 1990s.

Conducting brain function tests ten years later, small differences were found in only two of the 24 measurements--differences that could be attributable to chance, according to researchers. There was only one case of autism, and that patient was in the group that received the lower level of thimerosal.

Thimerosal has been used in some vaccines to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus, but has not been used in childhood vaccines in the U.S. since 2001. The study, funded by the CDC, was published in the February issue of Pediatrics, released Monday.

- read the Associated Press article