Preservatives And Vaccines

Today’s post is inspired by a question that I received from a new mom. She is getting ready to get a flu shot for her 8-month old and asked for my feedback. I personally have always given my son the flu shot. But what I learned over the last few years is that you have the option of getting a preservative free (no mercury, no thimerosol) version of the flu shot (and any vaccine for that matter). So now I always ask for the thimerosol free version for any shots that my son receives.

When I first did this my pediatrician actually gave me some push-back. I was told that “my son had the kind with preservatives” for his other shots. So I insisted on getting the preservative free kind and told them that “I am more knowledgeable now than I used to be and I would like to remove all heavy metals and preservatives from anything that goes into my son’s body.” That was fine – they didn’t like it, but they gave him the version that I requested.

Why should you be concerned about Thimerosol? Well, the evidence isn’t conclusive about possible links between thimerosol and childhood diseases (including Autism), but since 2001, the CDC has recommended the removal of Thimerolsol from vaccines routinely given to children. And for me, the fact that mercury has been eliminated in thermometers because of potential health hazards is enough to convince me that I don’t want it going into my child’s body.

My recommendation? Do your homework and feel comfortable with what you are doing. If you believe in vaccines or you don’t – knowledge is power – so take a look around and be sure to avoid preservatives or other potentially hazardous substances in childhood shots.

Here are some great vaccine and flu shot resources for you:
The Centers for Disease Control
Natural News
Ask Dr. Sears

Do you give your children flu shots? Do you have difficulties finding ones that are preservative free? Please leave a comment and share your advice/experiences.

3 comments to Preservatives And Vaccines

  • Jen

    I have four children and the oldest is 12. I have long heard about not vaxing but could not bring myself to do it…so I continued to vax. My youngest is 18 months and although I thought longer and harder about it I still did vax her. My kids all have asthma or reactive airways and allergies. The flu shot is a no brainer for us…when we tried to give my now 10 year old the flu shot the first time when he was 3 he reacted about 12 hours later…a baseball lump at the site and hives down his arm. He would have needed a a second shot for full protection (children under 9, 1st time they get it, get 2 doses)but due to the reaction dr said no. The next yr dr. said to try again since we were sure he was not allergic to eggs. I agreed. Same thing happened. We avoided it until about 2 years ago when the dr said he needs to get it( he had had influenza and many other illnesses the previous winter). SO we tested him for egg allergy and it was neg. That was about the same time preservative-free (thimerosol) shots were more readily available. I agreed and they suggest benedryl before and every 4 hours as needed the day of the shot. He did great. last year no problem and we only did one dose of Benedryl, this past August our clinic already had them available and so he got it and I did not even think about giving benedryl until the next day. He was totally fine…I am convinced he was allergic to the preservative.

    Therefore, knowing that my kids need to not get H1N1 Flu (due to asthma) if at all possible…they will need the shot…But I have told our pediatrician, I will only allow it if it is guaranteed Preservative Free. He said that is all they order and they will show me the label. He also told me that if H1N1 had surfaced 3+ months sooner it would have been in the regular flu shot.

    I have done my research and trust my dr. but I do respect the decision of others because every situation is different.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..I "heart" Fall =-.

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  • Ann Marie

    Our pediatrician normally only dispenses the preservative-free, single-dose vaccines to children. I’m glad that I don’t have to fight that battle every time. But I think I would, at least for vaccines I give to my children.

    We’re being very proactive about getting vaccines this year, because I’m 9 months pregnant. We think the best way to protect our newborn is to vaccinate everyone around her.

    We gave our 2-year-old both the seasonal flumist (nose spray) and her first dose of the 2009 H1N1 flumist already. Fortunately, those are also preservative-free. Our pediatrician also says flumist works better in children than the shots. And she didn’t have any bad reaction at all, not even a sniffle. She’ll get her second H1N1 flumist in a week or two.

    Since I’m pregnant, my husband and I got the preservative-free seasonal flu shots already. But we haven’t been able to find that version of the H1N1 vaccine yet. It’s all either the multi-dose stuff with thimerisol, or the flumist, which I can’t take. And they won’t give it to DH yet, because he doesn’t have a child under 2 (never mind that he will in a few weeks). So that’s been frustrating.

    Of course we worried about having our daughter be one of the very first to get the H1N1 vaccine, but we did our research and we’re quite comfortable with that decision now. Like they said, if H1N1 had been discovered 6 months earlier, it would just be wrapped up with the regular flu vaccine, and no one would be any more worried about it than any other flu vaccine.

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