CDC To Say Flu Shots With Preservative Thimerosal Are Safe
CDC will state that there is "no proof of harm" from exposure to the vaccine preservative thimerosal, which is nearly 50% ethyl mercury, in a decision to be published later this month, the Los Angeles Times reports. Parent activist groups and some experts had asked CDC to recommend physicians use a mercury-free version of the flu vaccine, claiming that thimerosal may have caused increases in cases of autism and developmental disorders in children. However, research has not conclusively demonstrated such a link, and the American Academy of Pediatrics backs the CDC's decision on the preservative. Since 1999, when the U.S. Public Health Service and the academy asked drug firms to voluntarily remove thimerosal from vaccines as a precaution, vaccine producers "have virtually eliminated thimerosal from regularly scheduled childhood vaccines," the Times reports. CDC officials said that stating a preference for the more expensive thimerosal-free vaccines would needlessly drive up demand, "possibly squeezing supplies" and leading to a shortage of immunizations, the Times reports (Levin, Los Angeles Times, 4/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.