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Mercury Containing Flu Vaccine Allowed in Californian Children Under 3 Through Dec 14 2006

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Although there is no proof linking thimerisol containing vaccine to autism or other diseases, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 2943 so that effective July 1, 2006, vaccines containing specific levels of mercury cannot be administered to pregnant women and children under the age of 3. Due to the current delay of delivering flu vaccine, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency yesterday granted an exemption through December 14, 2006 with the caveat that thimerosal-free product should be used whenever possible.

Vaccine delivery delays occured due to multiple facors:

  • one experienced poor growth of one of the viral strains which delayed completing production
  • one vaccine supplier decided against production
  • the American Academy of Pediatrics determined that children younger than nine years of age should receive two doses of vaccine this year because of two new virus types in 2006-2007 vaccine. This doubled the amount of vaccine necessary for children age 6 months to 3 years old who received vaccines last year, whereas physicians expected that children who had received the vaccine in the past would not need a second dose.


This will come as welcome relief for Pediatricians and Family Physicians scratching their heads trying to figure out how to immunize these children with 2 doses one month apart, when they haven't received any yet. Unfortunately, there's a delay in the delivery of thimerisol containing vaccine for the first reason listed above. Fortunately the flu season doesn't kick in usually until January, and it takes a week or two for antibody production to ramp up to protect you. Here's to hoping the deliveries get here soon.

Ironically for my clinic, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, we have plenty of thimerisol-free vaccine but are delayed in receiving our thimerisol containing vaccine. You can't win, eh?

via CAFP, CA HSS...

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About the Author


MD, FACP, FASN

Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.

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