Do pediatric vaccines still contain mercury?

Nurses General Nursing

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Hi nurses. I'm a nursing student and had pediatrics last semster. I seem to remember my instructor (who is PNP) say that most of the vaccines given to infants today don't contain any mercury. Instead of using multi-dose vials, they are now using single dose vials and there is less of need for preservatives. Is this true? I looked on the FDA website, and it looks like a lot of drugs the anti-vaccination parents talk about having mercury in them are actually mercury free.

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228#t1 Look at Table 1.

So why are parents still not wanting to vaccinate their kids? Do people still think there is mercury, say in the Hep B vaccine? All input, explanations, professional opinions appreciated!

Agrippa

490 Posts

The mercury you refer to is called "thimerosol". It's purpose is to preserve and protect the vaccine from contamination since as your instructor said, many vaccines came in a big vial that was used multiple times. This was done mostly for cost savings by pharma.

These days, most vaccines I know about are in single use syringes even. Either way, from what I've read, there is no causal relationship between thimerosol and any adverse effects, especially in the small amounts in the vaccines.

This is a big debate in the autism world. Some contend that its the thimerosal that has caused the increase of autism. However there have been numerous studies that so no connection. In the UK, they stopped using thimerosal before we did and they have also tracked in the same way in terms of an increase in autism rates.

I personally believe that it's the reason more kids are diagnosed somewhere on the autistic spectrum is because the spectrum has gotten wider and more kids have access to the diagnosis. 50 years ago, many of them would have just been diagnosed as slow, mentally retarded, etc.

dcampbell

129 Posts

Specializes in NICU. L&D, PP, Nursery.

Even if there are no proven studies that thimerisol is a problem, I think there are more than a few people that would not want a mercury derivative, or aluminum or other inorganic substances injected into their children if it is not necessary. The same way many parents pick certain pacifiers (to avoid possible plastics), glass baby bottles, organic food, or milk without hormones. If I was getting a vaccine myself, I would choose the vaccine without metals ( or extra additives and preservatives ) in it, why wouldn't I?

Agrippa

490 Posts

I agree. And these days i think its almost impossible to get any thimerosal via vaccines.

However, due to this fear about past thimerosal use, many parents become paranoid about all vaccines. They read about all this mumbo jumbo about how vaccines are all bad. Then some start to not vaccinate. The way a large cohort of people maintain immunogenicity is though everyone being immune. As more and more people arn't vaccinated, it puts the whole cohort in danger. Because of this, in some areas we're seeing a resurgence of things like MMR. All because of vaccine hysteria.

Sean 91

109 Posts

No. A family member asked me today (Sept 21) about mercury in the influenza vaccine, so I researched CDC and FDA sites and saw that all pedes vaccines, except the flu vaccine, are now free of the preservative thimerosal, which has a 49% content of the organic compound, ethylmercury. Because of the ballyhoo over the last few years the FDA saw to it that thimerosal was no longer used as a preservative...although trace levels of thimerosal may still be found in some batches. (Perhaps it's like the warning in some non-peanut cookies where peanut cookies have been mixed in the same vats--it will just take time to get trace levels of the Thimerosal out of the pores in the vats, or whatever euqipment they use to mix the vaccines. One would think glass bowls would be free of any contamination after cleaning, however.)

You can request the flu vaccine without a thimerosal preservative, but supplies are limited. In any case, the 0.5 ml flu vial contains 25 mcg of ethylmercury. Compare that to the ave can of 6 oz tuna which contains 10-60 mcg of METHYLmercury (which is not organic) (depending on what type of tuna and where it is caught). So the average tuna sandwich contains about as much mercury as the Thimerosal-based flu vaccine. FDA recommends children not eat more than one oz of tuna at one sitting. So if you eat a tuna sandwich once a week you will consume as much mercury in a year as 30-50 flu shots.

(By the way, thimerosal has been used since the 1930s.)

redhairboy

18 Posts

I think many parents that choose not to vaccinate their children or choose to delay/select vaccinate do so because of all of the chemicals in the vaccines. Vaccines contain Ethylene glycol (antifreeze), phenol, formaldehyde, aluminum and thimerosal. Our children are given many more vaccines today then ever before. Autism is not the only reason why parents choose not to vaccinate.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

1 Article; 4,094 Posts

Specializes in Oncology.

It's just a cult mentality. So and so heard if from her neighbor who heard it from her cousin who heard it from Jenny McCarthy who never had any basis and science and all of a sudden, it's the cool thing to do!

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

Additives in a vaccine don't seem like such a big deal when you consider how many different chemicals and pollutants we breathe in, eat, absorb through our skin, etc. on a daily basis.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

1 Article; 4,094 Posts

Specializes in Oncology.
I think many parents that choose not to vaccinate their children or choose to delay/select vaccinate do so because of all of the chemicals in the vaccines. Vaccines contain Ethylene glycol (antifreeze), phenol, formaldehyde, aluminum and thimerosal. Our children are given many more vaccines today then ever before. Autism is not the only reason why parents choose not to vaccinate.

And have a longer life expectancy because of them.

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