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Nation Of Islam Leader Voices Opposition To Mandatory Vaccine Bill

LOS ANGELES ( — A leader of the Nation of Islam is voicing his opposition to a bill that would require public school students to be immunized regardless of their parents' personal beliefs.

"Until we hear from Dr. Thompson on his findings, we should not go forward with any bills," said Minister Tony Muhammad speaking via satellite from Atlanta on Senate Bill, No. 277.

"I'm not against vaccinations as long as they, listen at my words, as long as they're safe," Muhammad said.

The Nation of Islam minister from Los Angeles is concerned about a statement released by William Thompson, a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who writes: "I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information."

Thompson is referring to a 2004 study he cowrote that concludes there is no evidence measles vaccines cause autism.

"The omitted data," Thompson writes, "suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism."

"This was bad data," said Steven Fox at the USC Keck School of Medicine. He explained that the omitted data Thompson was referring to was appropriately excluded.

"Because we were unable to be sure that there weren't other factors, such as low birth weight, birth outside the hospital, other factors that could have influenced the incidence of autism," Fox explained.

The CDC released a statement, which said in part: "Additional studies and a more recent rigorous review by the Institute of Medicine have found that MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism."

Thompson also added: "I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race."

But Muhammad said written words alone aren't enough.

"I think all sane people should say, 'Let's hold up until we hear from Dr. Thompson,' " he said.

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