With the memory of last years absences and doctor’s visits because of the flu fresh in your mind, you are determined to take extra precautions this year. You are ready to line up for this year’s flu shot as soon as you can. But wait–wasn’t there some concern over preservatives in flu shots? Well, there is good news on this front. Preservative-free flu shots are available for you and your loved ones.
These new type of flu shots have already been approved by the FDA and are on the market. The preservative thimerosal has been removed from many vaccines already, and a public push by several activist groups is forcing vaccine manufacturers to remove this mercury based additive from all new vaccine formulations.
Flu vaccines were among the last to have this preservative removed but, thimerosal free flu vaccines are out there. Be warned, however, you may have to do a bit of searching to find them. Be sure to call the physician’s office before you go in for the shot, See if they even offer this option. If they don’t, ask them to order the vaccine for you. And remember; do not be afraid to take your business elsewhere. More and more preservative free vaccines are being manufactured every day, but they won’t reach the public until physicians begin ordering them. Use your purchasing power to make your physician responsive to your needs.
Aventis-Pasteur has a preservative-free vaccine approved for pediatric use. For older children and adults, there are two options: a single dose flu injection by Chiron, or the vaccine Flumist which you can request by name. Flumist is a nasal spray vaccine manufactured as a cooperative venture by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Medimmune. Among those using Flumist, there have been some reports of respiratory symptoms in patients with have pre-existing breathing problems.
The link between thimerosal and the drastic consequences that have brought this issue to the fore are still developing. But this is an important enough issue that there is reason to take advantage of an opportunity to be that much safer in your choices about your health.