Originally Posted by LongIsland
When you look at the big picture and add up all the infants/children eligible to receive (and who will receive) the influenza vaccine this season, that "large supply" is not all that impressive.
More children (and pregnant women for that matter) will receive the multi-dose, full strength thimerosal-containing vaccine.
OK, well, let's post the numbers so that people can decide for themselves if it's fair to call the thim-free supply "large." There are 8-9 million completely thimerosal-free Fluzone doses, which is enough to cover all 6-23 month old babies.
For ages four and up, there's Fluvirin, which is supposedly "thimerosal-free" but unlike Fluzone, does have trace amounts left over from the manufacturing process. Ages 5 and up can get the entirely thimerosal-free FluMist (this one is the live vax, or LAIV). So the one age group for which there is not enough thimerosal-free vaccine (or even enough vaccine at all) is three year olds.
Obviously, everyone who wants a flu vax for their child should be sure they are getting the thimerosal-free version. From the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/thimerosal.htm):
Updated Sep 26, 2006
Is influenza vaccine that does not contain thimerosal as a preservative available this flu season (2006-07)?
At the current time, sanofi pasteur is projecting that 8 million to 9 million doses of thimerosal-free vaccine in pre-filled syringes or vials will be produced for the 2006-07 influenza season. The majority of this vaccine will be in 0.25 mL syringes (indicated for ages 6-35 months) with the remainder in 0.5 mL vials or syringes (indicated for ages 36 months and older). In addition, GlaxoSmithKline’s influenza vaccine for adults 18 years of age and older is preservative-free vaccine and Novartis (formerly Chiron) has a preservative-free preparation for persons 4 years of age and older. Also, the nasal-spray influenza vaccine (sold commercially as FluMist®) does not contain any thimerosal and can be given to healthy people 5 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Updated Sep 26, 2006
Will the supply of thimerosal-free and thimerosal-reduced influenza vaccine be adequate for the current and newly recommended pediatric priority groups (ages 6-59 months) during the 2006-07 season?
For the 2006-07 season, CDC projects that thimerosal-free vaccine supplies will be adequate for children ages 6-23 months. There is also likely to be sufficient preservative-free influenza vaccine for four year olds. Thimerosal-free vaccine doses licensed for three year olds, however, are limited in supply and CDC anticipates that there will be insufficient vaccine for this age group. Thimerosal-containing vaccine can also be used to vaccinate children if the product’s age indication is appropriate.