The Center for Disease control recommends that everyone ages 6 months and up get a yearly flu vaccination. Flu season typically starts in October and can last through May. Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe illness. People at high risk of serious complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart or lung disease and people over age 65. Vaccination is also important for health care workers and other people who care for high risk individuals to keep the virus from spreading. Children under 6 months are too young to be vaccinated but people who care for them should be.
Information on Influenza
- General Flu Information from the U.S. FDA
- Flu info from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Thimerosal & Influenza
- See the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website for information about thimerosal and vaccine safety
- There is no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the minute doses of thimerosal in vaccines except for minor effects like swelling and redness at the injection site due to sensitivity to thimerosal.
- Most importantly, since 1999, newly formulated thimerosal-free vaccines have been licensed. With the newly formulated vaccines, the maximum cumulative exposure during the first 6 months of life will now be less than 3 micrograms of mercury. No children are receiving toxic levels of mercury from vaccines.
- Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been used for decades in the United States in multi-dose vials (vials containing more than 1 dose) of some vaccines to prevent the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, which may contaminate them.
- In vaccines, preservatives are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the event that they get into the vaccine. This may occur when a syringe needle enters a vial as a vaccine is being prepared for administration. Contamination by germs in a vaccine could cause serious illness or death. In some vaccines, preservatives are added during the manufacturing process to prevent microbial growth.
- Influenza vaccine is manufactured in both multi-dose vials and in single dose units. Multi-dose vials contain thimerosal as a preservative to prevent potential contamination after the vial is opened.