Health concerns for children receiving the Swine Flu, H1N1 Influenza A, vaccine due to the inclusion of the preservative Thimerosal which contain mercury.
With the President issuing a national emergency on Friday October 23, 2009 due to the pandemic of the H1N1 Influenza A, commonly referred to as the Swine Flu, many people are getting the vaccine, which was developed this past Summer. The vaccine comes in a nasal mists which contains the live virus and the vaccine which contains Thimerosal which is used as a preservative. Some people are concerned about the inclusion of this compound and the health ramifications for their children. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated that 2 doses are required for the vaccine to be effective.
What is Thimerosal?
Thimerosal is a mercury-containing organic compound that has been used since the 1930s as a preservative in some multi-dose vials of vaccines in order to keep them free of bacterial contamination. In 1928, twelve children died from infections on the second and third day of diphtheria vaccinations; twenty-one children were immunized from the vial. Thimerosal is also found in some immune globulin preparations, antivenins, skin test antigens, and ophthalmic (e.g., contact lens solutions) and nasal (e.g., throat sprays) products. Thimerosal contains approximately 50% ethyl mercury. Mercury is a known neurotoxin and therefore it is this mercury content that has raised concerns about a potential link to autism. A vaccine containing 0.01% Thimerosal as a preservative contains 50 micrograms of Thimerosal per 0.5 mL dose, or approximately 25 micrograms of mercury per 0.5 mL dose.
As of January 2004, autism spectrum disorders were found to affect 1 in 166 children (90 percent of which are boys). In the early 1980s, the rate of autism was only 1 in 3,000. Proponents of a Thimerosal-autism link note that at the same time the incidence of autism was growing, the number of childhood vaccines containing Thimerosal was also growing. Many parents of autistic children claim that their children were developing normally until they received vaccines, and parents point to the fact that many children have been diagnosed with autism around the age of 18 months, an age which follows a large regimen of infant vaccines.
In 1999, the United States Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics called for the removal of Thimerosal from all vaccines with potential pediatric administration. However, there was no federal government mandate that required the removal of Thimerosal. Instead, governmental agencies and vaccine manufactures agreed to begin removing Thimerosal from certain childhood vaccines.
Thimerosal-containing vaccines remain and are administered to infants and children, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. Some vaccines that are not routinely recommended for young children, such as meningococcal vaccine, are only available with Thimerosal. According to the CDC, some influenza vaccines given to preschool age and older children still contain Thimerosal and certain tetanus-diphtheria vaccines (Td) given to children age 7 and older contain Thimerosal. Pregnant women and nursing women should also be wary as vaccines administered to adults, including influenza vaccine, continue to contain Thimerosal.
There are Thimerosal-free vaccines, but you will need to have your pediatrician order them. The CDC has a list of these vaccine manufacturers on their website. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaxsupply.htm#table
What the CDC Says about Thimerosal
The Centers for Disease Control, CDC, states that there is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of Thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999 the Public Health Service (PHS) agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and vaccine manufacturers agreed that Thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.
All recommended licensed pediatric vaccines that are currently manufactured for the U.S. market, with the exception of influenza vaccine, contain no Thimerosal or only trace amounts. There are limited quantities of Thimerosal preservative-free influenza vaccines. The CDC states that the total amount of inactivated--dead viruses--influenza vaccine available without Thimerosal as a preservative will continue to increase as manufacturing capabilities are expanded.
You can find additional information about Thimerosal and vaccines at the link below.
Independent Research on Thimerosal
Thimerosal has been found to be far more hazardous than previously believed by medical professionals. Over twice as much Thimerosal was trapped in the brains of infant monkeys than was previously believed possible. (National Institute of Health Funded Study conducted by Washington State University, Burbacher & Clarkson – April 2005)
Thimerosal dosing of mice duplicating the 1990 immunization schedule demonstrated that autistic symptoms could be duplicated via overexposure to Thimerosal which indicated a possible causal link. (Hornig, Chain, and Lipkin of Columbia University, New York – June 2004)
Thimerosal, among other toxins, inhibited growth factor signaling pathways and affected neurodevelopment. (Deth, Etal, Northeastern University, University of Nebraska, Tufts, and Johns Hopkins University – February 2004)
You should raise any concerns that you have about the flu vaccine with your child’s pediatrician and discuss what options are available. It is important to understand the rationale behind including Thimerosal in multi-dose vials of the vaccine as a public safety concern, while the single dose syringes and vials will be mercury free.
Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention