By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
About two weeks ago, news reports began showing up online suggesting that the flu vaccine was found safe to be used in children under the age of two.
The study looked at immunization records for more than 45,000 children and researchers determined that the intramuscular flu vaccine was safe to be used in children under the age of two.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "the single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year" and the CDC now recommends children under the age of two receive the flu vaccine.
Hundreds of news articles began appearing on major web sites such as Google News, MSN, and Yahoo, touting the recently reported study and suggesting the vaccine was now safe for babies. The message was clear... get the shot, get the shot, get the shot. However, there was something missing that was not appearing in any of the news articles... flu shots contain thimerosal.
That may come as no big deal to some, but to a parent that has been fighting with vaccine manufacturers and/or government officials to get mercury compounds out of vaccines, it's a very big deal.
After increased pressure from consumers, parents of autistic children groups, and government elected officials, vaccine manufacturers and the FDA have collectively agreed to begin removing thimerosal from childhood vaccines. Problem is, up until these recent recommendations, the flu vaccine was not considered a childhood vaccine.
Here is a list of FDA links with PDF document information on various intramuscular flu vaccines being used in 2006. Fluzone "No Preservative" pediatric dose by Aventis Pasteur, reports not to use thimerosal in the manufacturing process. Below that are some links to get more information about Thimerosal.
Fluvirin® (Chiron Vaccines Ltd.)
Thimerosal (mercury derivative, =0.98 mcg mercury per 0.5 mL dose) is used in manufacture of the unit dose preservative free presentation but is reduced by the purification process to trace amounts.
Fluarix® (Influenza Virus Vaccine for intramuscular use)
Thimerosal is used at the early stages of manufacture and is removed by subsequent purification steps to <1.25 mcg mercury per dose.
FLULAVAL® (Influenza Virus Vaccine) ID Biomedical Corporation of Quebec (IDB)
FLULAVAL is an influenza virus vaccine indicated for active immunization of adults 18 years of age and older. Thimerosal, a mercury derivative, is added as a preservative. Each 0.5 mL dose contains 25 mcg mercury.
Fluzone (Aventis Pasteur, Inc.)
Fluzone vaccine is supplied in four different presentations: a 5 mL vial of vaccine which contains the preservative thimerosal [(mercury derivative), (25 µg mercury/dose)]; a 0.25 mL prefilled syringe (No Preservative: Pediatric Dose, for 6 - 35 months of age) distinguished by a pink syringe plunger rod; a 0.5 mL prefilled syringe (No Preservative, for 36 months of age and older); and a 0.5 mL vial (No Preservative, for 36 months of age and older). There is no thimerosal used in the manufacturing process of the No Preservative unit dose presentations of Fluzone vaccine.
Thimerosal in Vaccines (from the FDA)
Thimerosal (from Wikipedia) -- Thiomersal is a very toxic compound which is harmful by inhalation and ingestion.
National Vaccine Information Center - Mercury Calculator
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