in fan t dea th and

DPT vaccine

evidence, such as differential absorption of iron, support this characteristic of breast milk. Tiny amounts of iron in breast milk are fully utilized by nursing babies, preventing iron—deficiency anemia, while cows‘ milk is well—known to inhibit the absorption of iron, thus requiring iron supplementation in formula—fed babies. In PCB-PBB scares of past years, even though these chemical contaminants were measured as being higher in breast milk than in cows‘ milk, not a single baby has been shown to have suffered any harm. (In the present Pennsylvania nuclear accident, high levels of radioactive substances have already been reported in cows’ milk.)

Breastfeeding has a particular advantage for the babies now being evacuated, being always available, always fresh, and always sterile.

In contrast, it may be very difficult for mothers in transit to simulate the kind of conditions present when they prepare and refrigerate formulas in their kitchens. Thus, the danger of bacterial contamination and subsequent infectious disease, long associated exclusively with Third World countries, is increased right here.

My advice to breastfeed in the face of nuclear accidents is important not only during this immediate crisis but also for many months to come, particularly along the east coast where the nuclear drift may endanger both the physical and intellectual development of children already born and those yet to be born.

The day that the deaths of four Tennessee infants were reported within 24 hours of receiving DPT (diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus) vaccine, I phoned Robert Hutcheson, M.D., Director Communicable Disease Control, Tennessee State Department of Health. Dr. Hutcheson provided me with vital pieces of information left out of the sketchy newspaper reports. In response to my questions about why these deaths seemed to occur only in Tennessee, Dr. Hutcheson described the unique vaccine- monitoring system which he initiated years ago as state epidemiologist.

Unique among the 50 states, Tennessee has provided a 24-hour toll—free telephone number for parents of immunized children to phone in order to report reactions from immunizations. Parents of children who receive inoculations at public clinics are given an "important information form" mandated by federal regulations which describes the benefits of immunization, some of the reactions, and the toll—free telephone number. Thus, the reporting of reactions in Tennessee is not exclusively dependent on physicians.

Because of this parent participation, Tennessee is in an unusual position vis—a—vis other states. It should be pointed out that patients who are immunized by private physicians do not necessarily receive this special form; however, in Tennessee 70 per cent of children are immunized in public clinics. Because of this excellent early warning system,

Dr. Hutcheson had sufficient data to order immediate withdrawal of the suspicious vaccine on March 9, l979.

In response to my next question about the failure to publicize the suspect batch numbers of vaccine, Dr. Hutcheson informed me that thus far the only manufacturer implicated is Wyeth Laboratories, and the batch numbers are 64-201 and 6l9—87,—88,—89,—90,—9l. One hundred and fifty thousand doses of these suspect lots were withdrawn from use in Tennessee, but there were an additional 300,000 doses in the rest of the country.

In response to my next question about the statistical methods used in implicating this batch of triple vaccine, Dr. Hutcheson reported