Pediatric Flu Vaccine Supply Delayed, Not A Shortage
In California, a state law became effective July 1, 2006 which makes it illegal to give flu vaccine that contains zero to trace amounts of thimerisol to children under 36 months of age or pregnant women. So even though there is no scientific evidence of any harmful effects of thimerisol, it's a crime in California to administer this. This is an example of politics trumping good medical science, with activists successfully pushing their agenda, harming the greater public. As less people are immunized, we lose the benefit of herd immunity which I recently blogged about. Since the standard flu shot vaccine contains thimerisol, pregnant women must wait for thimerasol-free flu vaccine to be shipped. Children under 3 will have to wait for FluZone to be shipped.
AAP stresses that the shot is effective even when administered into January and later, when the flu season really picks up. It takes 2 weeks for the body to ramp up antibody production to fight flu, so keep that in mind when getting your kids immunized.
Others covering this: Vincent Iannelli, NEJM JournalWatch, AP, WebMD, PA Weekly, USAToday, Taraneh Razavi and Rob Lamberts.