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Santa Fe New Mexican
State's flu shots have mercury options
Thimerosal-free versions available to both children and adults
By Diana Del Mauro The New Mexican
Although a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests the flu shot's tiny dose of mercury is harmless to a child's neurologic development, parents who don't want to take the risk don't have to in New Mexico.
The Department of Health ordered about 170,000 doses of flu vaccine this year, of which 97,440 doses are formulated without thimerosal, the preservative that contains mercury. The mercury-free version is available to both adults and children.
All the flu vaccine ordered for children 6 to 35 months of age is mercury-free, said department spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer. In addition, the state purchased 17,450 mercury-free doses for children ages 3 to 18, and 20,000 mercury-free doses for adults 18 and older.
Separate from what the state offers, some clinics also provide another mercury-free alternative: FluMist, which is administered as a nasal spray and is made from the killed influenza virus. Only approved for use with healthy people 2 to 49 years of age, FluMist is not safe for pregnant women, children who are on long-term aspirin use, people with asthma or other lung diseases, people with chronic heart disease, people with diabetes or kidney failure, or people with a weakened immune system, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Read the rest of the article at The New Mexican.