I didn’t even know there was mercury in swine flu vaccines, but apparently there is in some of them. (Teeth fillings yes, but flu shots, who knew?) State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky announced today she is suspending rules that govern mercury levels so the swine flu vaccines can be used. The suspension will last 6 months.
Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer said there’s a little bit of ethyl mercury in multi-dose vials of swine flu vaccine “to preserve the sterility.”
Some vials have 10 doses in them, and although a doctor or nurse will use a new sterile needle each time, the mercury is there just in case to make sure they are sterile.
The state Legislature set standards for mercury levels in a law that took effect July 1, 2007.
Mercury limits suspended for H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine to improve access
Creates choice for pregnant women and children under three
OLYMPIA ¾ State health officials are taking steps to ensure Washington residents at highest risk for H1N1 (swine flu) infection have broad access to the new vaccine when it’s available. Secretary of Health Mary Selecky is temporarily suspending Washington’s limit on the amount of mercury (thimerosal) allowed in H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine given to pregnant women and children under three.
“It’s vital to be sure everyone in a high risk group has the choice to be vaccinated when swine flu vaccine becomes available,” said Secretary Selecky. “Mercury-free H1N1 vaccine may not always be in stock, and we want to be sure there are no barriers to protecting people.”