I was at a mommy and me class today when a woman cornered me. “I know you’re so into this stuff. I have to ask you. Did you know that this year’s flu shot contains the H1N1 virus? I asked if there was a version without it and there isn’t!”
This girl, who gave her son — now two — a regular flu shot last year but declined the H1N1, doesn’t know what she’s going to do this year. She doesn’t want to give her son the H1N1, and she was fairly distraught. She even called other pediatricians to see if they had a version without the H1N1. They didn’t. And, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there’s a reason: Every single flu shot also contains the H1N1. They explain it on a Flu.gov website.
After reading more about it, I am glad she asked me, because there’s more to this than just the H1N1 being included, there’s a mercury issue, too.
I think it’s fairly egregious that the media hasn’t picked up and reported on either the fact that the flu virus has the H1N1. Not surprised, though, since plenty of people I know took the regular flu shot last year, but refused the H1N1. They don’t want to scare people out of getting the vaccine. But more important is the fact that no one is talking about the way this vaccine is being dolled out. Here’s the gist of it:
There are essentially three versions of the vaccine. (Thanks to Rhresh Living for pointing this out to me and everyone else.)
1) A 0.25 mL single-dose, pre-filled syringe. This version may or may not contain preservatives like Thimerosol.
2) A set of three 0.5 mL single-dose, pre-filled syringes. Again, some of the options do not include Thimerosol.
3) A bulk option, which is five mL or ten to 20 doses. This version absolutely, positively contains Thimerosol because doctors keep drawing from what is essentially an open container so they need something to keep it from spoiling.
So now, not only are you getting the virus that people were scared of, (remember? Even Dr. Oz’s kids didn’t get the H1N1 last year) you’re most likely going to get a nice, big fat dose of mercury since Thimerosol is just that — mercury.
Dr. Sears has a good rundown of which vaccines, specifically, have which formulations. If you’re going to take the flu shot go armed with this information and ASK to see the pamphlet so you know what you and your child are actually getting. If your doctor refuses to show you, walk out.
This is my biggest pet peeve. WE are CUSTOMERS as far as doctors are concerned. They work for US not the other way around. No one should be afraid to ask for information or demand that our doctors and nurses do their jobs with our complete and total consent. I love doctors, but I want to be the one in charge of my care. Dr. Sears agrees:
“The debate over whether or not mercury in the flu shot is enough to cause harm continues to rage on, with no clear resolution yet. I believe it is prudent in the mean time to avoid giving any full-dose mercury shots to children under 3 and to pregnant women. What should you do if all you can find is a full-dose version? Just say no, and tell your doctor why. Maybe if enough patients do this, doctors will order and demand more of the mercury-free version for next year. For kids 2 years and older, get the nasal spray instead (this can’t be given to pregnant women).”
Personally, I never take the flu vaccine. And my kids don’t, either. It’s not mandated for school. It’s not 100 percent effective. In fact, many years the three or so viruses they pick are completely wrong. (The way a flu vaccine works: Scientists try to guess which of the many, many viruses out there will be prevalent. A lot of times they guess wrong.) However, if you’re going to take it or give it to your kids, please, please, please be careful. Take the time to ask questions. Get the shot that doesn’t have mercury. It’s worth the hassle of going to another doctor or waiting until your doctor orders the “right” one. It really is.
Did you get the H1N1 last year? Will you get the flu shot this year? Did you know the flu shot had the H1N1 in it?