Dr. Daniel Neides, medical director and COO of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, questioned the safety of vaccines and brought up the topic of vaccinations and autism.
Neides wrote in an op-ed for Advance Ohio on Jan. 6 that he recently had his flu shot:
I chose to receive the preservative free vaccine, thinking I did not want any thimerasol (i.e. mercury) that the "regular" flu vaccine contains.
Makes sense, right? Why would any of us want to be injected with mercury if it can potentially cause harm? However, what I did not realize is that the preservative-free vaccine contains formaldehyde.
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WHAT? How can you call it preservative-free, yet still put a preservative in it? And worse yet, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Yet, here we are, being lined up like cattle and injected with an unsafe product. Within 12 hours of receiving the vaccine, I was in bed feeling miserable and missed two days of work with a terrible cough and body aches.
There are different types of mercury: organic methylmercury that can harm people at high levels due to its toxicity, and thimerosal, which is used in multi-dose vials of flu vaccine (not single doses) to stop "bacteria or fungus to the vial between shots," according to Forbes.
Forbes breaks down how thimerosal is different from methylmercury:
Thimerosal, however, breaks down into 49 [percent] ethylmercury, larger molecules which exit the body within a week or two and do not cause harm, even when received in multiple vaccines. Before scientists fully understood the safety of thimerosal, it was removed as a standard ingredient in childhood vaccines in 2000. Today, its safety is well-established, and thimerosal-containing vaccines continue to be used in countries that cannot afford single-dose vaccines.
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In Neides' op-ed, he notes how Americans are exposed to chemicals in their daily lives, and asks: "Why are we so sick in 2017 despite the best access to healthcare?"
According to a 2014 study by The Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. ranked the worst in access to health care among 11 industrialized nations.
Neides went on to write about the human body's excretory and lymphatic systems, which remove waste, and then brought up autism:
Slight detour. Why do I mention autism now twice in this article. Because we have to wake up out of our trance and stop following bad advice. Does the vaccine burden - as has been debated for years - cause autism? I don't know and will not debate that here. What I will stand up and scream is that newborns without intact immune systems and detoxification systems are being over-burdened with PRESERVATIVES AND ADJUVANTS IN THE VACCINES.
The issue of whether vaccines cause autism is not up for debate, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which notes studies showing no link between vaccines and autism, and no link between thimerosal and autism.
In response to Neides' article, Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil told Forbes in an email: "Cleveland Clinic fully supports vaccinations to protect patients and our employees. The statements made by our physician do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic."
Neides released a statement on Jan. 8 to Advance Ohio, stating: "I apologize and regret publishing a blog that has caused so much concern and confusion for the public and medical community. I fully support vaccinations and my concern was meant to be positive around the safety of them."
However, the hospital promised to discipline Neides in its statement that same day:
Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine. Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways.
We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable.
Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.