Vaccines Being Prepared
This fall the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hopes to have 120 million doses of the swine flu vaccine ready for the public to protect itself against the H1N1 virus.
At last count 7,511 have been hospitalized and 477 have died in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and young people seem to be particularly susceptible, as older folks may have immunity gathered over the years.
With 55 million U.S. school children heading back to school soon, the Wall Street Journal reports that concerns are the virus will spread as it has in military units and children’s summer camps. And pregnant women are more than four times as likely to contract the flu as the general population, according to a report in The Lancet.
As soon as the vaccines are ready, expect to see a federal campaign launched to encourage a swine flu shot.
But the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal will be included in some doses. That’s the same preservative, and a neurotoxin thought to be at least partially responsible for the epidemic of autism in this country.
Clinical trials are underway to determine whether the dosages will be delivered in single or multiple injections. Single dose vials do not need to have the preservative added, but multi-dose vials make the vaccine cheaper to manufacture and distribute.
"We don't have adequate safety studies on this vaccine before we are moving forward to market," said Lyn Redwood, president and co-founder of the group SafeMinds to ABC News.
"I'm really not convinced that we know for sure that the risk of the disease outweighs the risk of the vaccine, especially since this is a brand new additive that we have never used before in combination with thimerosal."
During the 1976-77 flu season the vaccine developed to prevent the spread of the swine flu strain was linked to an unexplained increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Sanofi-Aventis is one drug maker that has received an order from the Department of Health and Human Services to deliver a vaccine, but the formulation is still under consideration.
Donna Cary, a spokeswoman says that the company will likely market a thimerosal-free version of the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine is unlikely to provide protection against this novel H1N1 influenza, and the H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine, reports the CDC.
Another questions still unresolved is whether drug makers will prepare a swine flu vaccine with an adjuvant. Adjuvants can include forms of aluminum are used with other vaccines to make them more effective with less vaccine. Adjuvants are used in hepatitis A and B, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and the Hib vaccine, reports ABC News.
The use of adjuvants is likely to contribute to the controversy over vaccines and initially the swine flu vaccine will not contain any. Later trials with an adjuvanted form may be conducted.
The Institute of Vaccine Safety helps parents research which single-dose vials contain thimerosal among back-to-school vaccines.
At least four flu vaccines do still contain Thimerosal, but so do half a dozen other vaccines still being manufactured and injected. For example, a single dose vials of the Sanofi Pasteur brand of DT vaccine has 0 Thimerosal, but if the practitioner is drawing from a multi-dose vial (common at some offices where many shots are given, especially just before school starts) it has the same Thimerosal concentration as in the past (25mcg). #