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Will Swine Flu Vaccine Be Hurt Over Thimerosal?

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 1:08 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Thimerosal, H1N1, Swine Flu, Influenza, Vaccines

Will the swine flu vaccine be hurt by thimerosal additives? There likely will be one without.


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Symptoms of swine flu/ author: CDC 

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). #


Anonymous User
Posted by Jerry
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 5:00 PM EST

How many times do we have to read that"some flu vaccines still contain thimerosal". The fact is that last year 8 million out of 150 million doses of flu vaccine were shots with trace amounts of thimerosal. That means over 95% contained the full dose of thimerosal. To say that "some flu vaccines still contain thimerosal" is very misleading. I bet you anything that all safety trials will be on shots that don't use adjuvants and that the product that shows up on the market in October will contain them. Then of course the 100,000's of thousands of adverse events following vaccination will just be "coincidental", just like Gardisal.

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 5:07 PM EST

Hello Jerry-

I'm not sure I understand your comment, but you are right that at least trace amounts do exist in many vaccines. We put the link to the Johns Hopkins site that tracks the latest so consumers can be well informed. No one fully understand the cumulative effect of trace amounts either. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Anonymous User
Posted by Thomas Potter
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:05 AM EST

Considering the potential risk of the A/H1N1/09 virus or the vaccine itself, I found the following study strangely coincidental. On June 17, 1996, the U.S. Air Force released Air Force 2025 "a study designed to comply with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future." In the unclassified study, the College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama posed several "fictional representations of future situations or scenarios" likely to arise. In Chapter 5, page 55, the authors present a time line figure representing "plausible history". In 2009, according to the report, influenza will kill 30 million people.

The study also suggests that no one determined if the virus was a natural mutation or bioengineered.

Alternate Futures for 2025: Security Planning to Avoid Surprise

Anonymous User
Posted by Mike Franklin
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 5:56 PM EST

If you will excuse the term, you're going to be damned if you do and damned if you don't. The public is not feeling very trusting of their government right now, nor of the pharmaceutical industry for that matter. Add to that the media barrage of often contradictory information and what you end up with is that same public, now suffering from a psychosis of basic reason.

Personally, I think it may be wise to administer a dose of Valium with every flu inoculation.

Anonymous User
Posted by Craig
Thursday, August 20, 2009 1:26 PM EST

How come no major press agency is discussing the other potentially more toxic adjuvant being added to some of the Swine Flu vaccines (eg. Novartis AG's version) - Squalene. Since this additive has been proven to have a strong correlation with Gulf War Syndrome (unlike Thimerosal which has no proven link with autism), this is what keeps me up at night.

Antibodies to squalene in Gulf War syndrome.
Asa PB, Cao Y, Garry RF. Exp Mol Pathol. 2000 Feb;68(1):55-64.

Department of Microbiology, Tulane Medical School, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112, USA

Anonymous User
Posted by Todd
Thursday, October 08, 2009 12:10 PM EST

I am the father of a 12 year old autistic son. I have heard all week that the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been encouraging people to take the vacinnes. Yet, not once, until I read a report today, did I hear them report that "some" of the doses will contain Thimerosal. Both of those departments knows full well what a hot topic issue this would be yet they failed to make that public. Finding out through other media releases only makes them even less credible than before. I am appalled at their failure to divulge this information in their earlier press releases this week. People need to make an informed choice for themselves and, especially, their children. Shame on you, CDC and HHS.

Anonymous User
Posted by Craig
Thursday, October 08, 2009 1:14 PM EST

The H1N1 vaccines, as well as the seasonal flu vaccines, have a thimerosal-free version. When you get the shot, ask for the "preservative-free" version and you will not get the one with mercury.
My whole family got the seasonal flu vaccine from Walgreens and it was the thimerosal-free version.

For the seasonal flu vaccine, there are 2 "preservative-free" brands. PF stands for preservative-free.

Fluzone PF Single Dose Vial (Sanofi Pasteur)
Afluria PF Single Dose Vial (CSL Australia)

For the H1N1, they are saying 15% of the total H1N1 vaccines will be mercury free. The nasal version is all mercury free if you can get it.

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, October 08, 2009 1:53 PM EST

With all the questions surrounding the additives to vaccines - you would think the CDC, FDA and local health authorities, would display loud and clear which formulations are PF.

Multi-dose vials are still preserved is my understanding..

Comments for this article are closed.

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