State lifts limit on mercury preservative in swine-flu shots

By Sandi Doughton

Seattle Times science reporter

In preparation for swine-flu vaccinations next month, Washington’s Health Department on Thursday temporarily suspended a rule that limits the amount of a mercury preservative in vaccines given to pregnant women and children under the age of 3.

The preservative, thimerosal, has never been linked to any health problems, said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. But a vocal minority believes the compound could be linked to autism. The state Legislature adopted the limit in 2006.

Thimerosal has been eliminated from most vaccines in the United States, but it will be added to the bulk of the swine-flu vaccine being produced to stem a pandemic that health officials estimate could sicken more than a third of the state’s residents.

Pregnant women and young children are considered at high risk for swine flu, and lifting the mercury limits will give them quicker access to the vaccine, Selecky said.

“It’s vital that everyone in a high-risk group has the choice to be vaccinated when swine-flu vaccine becomes available,” she said.

About 15 percent of the vaccine supply will be mercury-free, but people may have to wait longer for it to become available.

/snip/

From medicinenet, we have this:

Some consumers are concerned about the use of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, in vaccines. Since 2001, with the exception of some influenza vaccines (flu), thimerosal is not used as a preservative in routinely recommended childhood vaccines.

To learn more about this use of thimerosal, please see information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on medicines that contain mercury and thimerosal in vaccines, and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on thimerosal in vaccines.

Mercury is a poison. There’s no other way to say it.

Take this vaccine at your own risk.

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