Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu, Pediatrician at Children's Medical Group says, "The short answer is that it's recommended that infants over 6 months receive the H1N1 flu vaccine as soon as possible since children under the age of 2 years are at high risk for complications from H1N1 infection. The risks from the infection itself are thought to be much higher then any risk from the vaccine, with or without thimerosal.
So what is "thimerosal"? It is a mercury based preservative that has been used in some vaccines since the 1930's, when it was first introduced by the Eli Lilly Company. It has been used in vaccines to prevent bacterial growth or fungal growth in the event of accidental contamination. The Eli Lilly Company claims thimerosal is of "a very low order of toxicity...for man". During a severe outbreak of meningitis patients in 1929, the company hired its own doctors to perform experiments in Indianapolis City Hospital. Andrew Walters, who is actively involved in a lawsuit against the company, claims: "The most critical studies on the toxicity of thimerosal were suppressed by the company until now."
The use of thimerosal in vaccines has been highly debated by researchers and physicians, as well as representatives from the CDC and FDA. Several factors led up to the examination of mercury-containing preservatives in childhood vaccines. There has been increased awareness on health effects of human exposure to mercury.
The Committee on Government Reform, chaired by Congressman Dan Burton, states: "Mercury is hazardous to humans. Its use in medicinal products is undesirable, unnecessary and should be minimized or eliminated entirely. Manufacturers of vaccines and thimerosal, ( an ethylmercury compound used in vaccines ), have never conducted adequate testing in the safety of thimerosal. The FDA has never required manufacturers to conduct adequate safety testing on thimerosal and ethylmercury compounds. Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the Autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding injected thimerosal and the sharp rise of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. Our public health agencies failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeance for self-protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."
The vaccine program went from 10 vaccines in the 1980's to 36 today, a 260% increase. American children get 6 or 7 different vaccines in 1 visit to the doctors at their 2, 4, 6, and 12 month appointments. Children who received the entire 3-shot B Vaccine, during the time period in which vaccines were manufactured with thimerosal, have a 9x higher rate of developmental disabilities than unvaccinated children, according to a study done by Carolyn Gallagher and Melody Goodman, Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, September 2008.
In a recent phone survey with Generation Rescue, a nonprofit organization publicized by famous actress Jenny McCarthy, they declared that vaccinated boys were 224% more likely to have ADHD. Older vaccinated boys were even more likely at 317%. ( This may be due to late diagnosis. ) The CDC reported in 1985 that 500,000 children in the USA had ADHD compared to 5-7 million today. 1 to 3 children in every classroom of 30 are reported to have ADHD, according to Russell Barkley, PhD.
As a precautionary measure, the Public Health Service including the FDA, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued two joint statements, urging vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines as soon as possible (CDC 1999) and (CDC 2000).
Much progress has been made to date in removing thimerosal in vaccines. These changes have been accomplished by reformulating products in single dose vials that do not contain a preservative. Although, the Swine Flu Vaccine for pediatric use with a "thimerosal-preservative containing formulation" is still being used. Formulations that contain either no thimerosal or only trace amounts are available; but in limited supplies.
Parents need to educate themselves and make the decision whether or not to get their children vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine. Ask your doctor whether or not the supplies of the H1N1 Flu Vaccine they have on hand contains thimerosal.