On July 7, 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued with the US Public Health Service (USPHS) a joint statement alerting clinicians and the public of concern about thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines. That statement was disseminated widely, including on the AAP members e-mail list, and was posted on the AAP web site since July 7, 1999. The AAP Board of Directors recognizes that in the light of these concerns, clinicians need guidelines today on their infant immunization practices.

What follows is information prepared by our technical committees as sections introduced by the following headings: Thimerosal, Mercury Exposure and Toxicity, Federal Guidelines, and Risk of Withholding Vaccines. The AAP Board of Directors then offers specific interim guidelines based on its understanding of the information that is currently available. This material should allow clinicians to inform parents about thimerosal. It takes advantage of the flexibility of the...

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