Yesterday, I mentioned that some of the swine flu vaccines will be available without thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative found in many vaccines, including the seasonal flu vaccine.
Considering that children are among the first ones pushed to get the vax, this is worrisome.
Thimerosal is about half mercury. It is an antibacterial additive allowing caregivers to administer shots in multi doses. Really, the main benefit is that it’s more cost effective than single dose shots. But mercury is a known neurotoxin, one that pregnant women and children carefully steer clear from when choosing fish meals.
So why should we trust that thimerosal in vaccines is any safer?
The Washington Post reports,
Some of the vaccine will be stored in multi-dose vials containing thimerosal, an antibacterial additive that contains mercury. But there will also be single-dose syringes without thimerosal, a substance that some assert is harmful to children.
(I like that last part, don’t you? We know mercury is harmful. And thimerosal is half mercury. It’s not a stretch to think it was harming children when multiple doses of various vaccines were given at once.)
Thimerosal has been removed from the Recommended Immunization Schedule for the worries I mentioned. It has long been considered one culprit in the autism debate. But even now, after removal from kids’ required vaccines, there are other heavy metals, like aluminum, in vaccines.
And thimerosal is currently still in most seasonal flu vaccines, which themselves aren’t even all that effective.
I hope that those of you who choose to receive the swine flu vaccine, for reasons we discussed yesterday, are able to find a thimerosal-free version.
Image: ad-vantage on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.