Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mercury and the H1N1 Vaccination

I have been concerned about the lifting of bans in many states to allow mercury preservatives into the H1N1 vaccine. Not all of us in my family will be vaccinated, but for those that will receive the vaccine due to susceptibility and health concerns I have tried unsuccessfully for the past week to find a mercury-free version -- one that would be free of Thimerosal. The only exception was if you were pregnant, then you could get the mercury-free H1N1 vaccine -- but that is not our situation.

So, my research lead me to the CDC's website that outlined exactly how much mercury is in the H1N1 vaccine. There is some but not a lot. And this vaccine is given by itself -- not as part of a group of vaccines on one day -- which reduces the total amount of mercury in one's system. Though, you might end up having to get two doses.

Result? I've decided to stop looking for a mercury-free version and follow the excellent advice from Gina Solomon who is a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Says Solomon --

"According to the package insert, a multi-dose vial of the H1N1 flu vaccine contains about 25 micrograms of mercury per dose. In comparison, an average can of albacore tuna contains about 60 micrograms of mercury. So the vaccine offers a dose of mercury that is less than that in 1/2 can of tunafish. At the same time, the vaccine protects against a disease that at best results in several days of discomfort and missed school or work, and at worst results in serious complications and even death. Seems like a worthwhile trade-off."

Gina's full commentary on the issue is found at the NRDC's Switchboard blog site here.

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