The seasonal flu shot is a “trivalent” vaccine, which means it contains three influenza viruses. Although the individual strains vary each year, the types of strains selected for the vaccine usually consist of an influenza A strain, an H1N1 strain (not the pandemic 2009 strain) and an influenza B strain. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration also approved a “monovalent,” or single strain, vaccine designed exclusively to combat the pandemic H1N1 strain.
An influenza epidemic emerges during flu season each winter. There are two flu seasons annually, corresponding to the occurrence of winter in opposite months in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Worldwide, seasonal influenza kills an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people each year. Tens of thousands of Americans die in a typical flu season, but there are notable variations from year to year. In 2010 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States changed the way it reports the 30-year estimates for deaths from influenza. Now they are reported as a range from a low of about 3,300 deaths to a high of 49,000 per year over the past 30 years.
First thing you should know is how the vaccine is purchased by your provider, which mfg they are using, and if they use single injections or buy multiple doses. In many situations, this alone will tell you if there is Thimerosal (Mercury) in the vaccine, and you can look up the rest of the ingredients yourself – and please do!
Second thing you should know is that the manufacturers (big pharma) have ‘very clear instructions’ on their insert (that comes with the product) about what medical emergency staff should be on hand when people are given injections of flu vaccines. Read the pamphlet, ask for it.
Fertilized chicken eggs are used as the growth medium for influenza virus, and trace amounts of egg white protein (ovalbumin) are reported in each of the 2009-2010 vaccines. All but two manufacturers (Sanofi Pasteur and ID Biomedical) used antibiotics to prevent bacterial contamination of the chicken eggs. The specific antibiotics used include kanamicin, gentamicin, neomycin and polymixin B. People with egg and antibiotic allergies should read the manufacturer’s product literature prior to receiving a flu shot.
Once the virus has been allowed to replicate in chicken eggs, it must be recovered. This step involves the addition of chemical detergents. Examples of detergents used in the 2009-2010 vaccine include sodium taurodeoxycholate, polyethylene glycol p-isooctylphenyl ether and octoxynol-10. These are usually measured in terms of parts per million. Each manufacturer specifies the type and maximum concentration of the chemicals used in its brand.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the viruses in the flu shot are “inactivated,” which means that they are no longer capable of causing infection. Technically, viruses are never alive, so they cannot be “killed” as bacteria are. Vaccines approved for the 2009-2010 flu season used beta-propionolactone or formaldehyde derivatives to inactivate the virus. Each manufacturer’s product literature specifies the exact agent used and the maximum concentration present in the final dose.
According to the FDA and manufacturers’ product literature, H1N1/09 and seasonal flu injection vaccines are suspended in sterile phosphate-buffered salt solutions with a pH and concentration similar to the fluid that surrounds the cells in the human body. Other ingredients of the buffer solution may include gelatin, arginine and sucrose. Gelatin from pigs is used as a stabilizer. Arginine is an amino acid component of protein. Sucrose is common table sugar.
All FDA-approved multi-dose vials of seasonal and H1N1 vaccine contain thimerisol, a mercury-containing compound used a preservative. A flu shot dispensed from a multi-dose vial contains about 25 micrograms (0.000025 g) of mercury as thimerisol. The manufacturer’s product insert will always confirm the presence and quantity of mercury for a specific product.
|Includes vaccine ingredients (e.g., adjuvants and preservatives) as well as substances used during the manufacturing process, including vaccine-production media, that are removed from the final product and present only in trace quantities. In addition to the substances listed, most vaccines contain Sodium Chloride (table salt).Vaccine Contains|
|Influenza (Afluria)||Beta-Propiolactone, Calcium Chloride, Neomycin, Ovalbumin, Polymyxin B, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Taurodeoxychoalate|
|Influenza (Agriflu)||Cetyltrimethylammonium Bromide (CTAB), Egg Protein, Formaldehyde or Formalin, Kanamycin, Neomycin Sulfate, Polysorbate 80|
|Influenza (Fluarix)||Egg Albumin (Ovalbumin), Egg Protein, Formaldehyde or Formalin, Gentamicin, Hydrocortisone, Octoxynol-10, α-Tocopheryl Hydrogen Succinate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Deoxycholate, Sodium Phosphate, Thimerosal*|
|Influenza (Flulaval)||Egg Albumin (Ovalbumin), Egg Protein, Formaldehyde or Formalin, Sodium Deoxycholate, Phosphate Buffers, Thimerosal|
|Influenza (Fluvirin)||Beta-Propiolactone , Egg Protein, Neomycin, Polymyxin B, Polyoxyethylene 9-10 Nonyl Phenol (Triton N-101, Octoxynol 9), Thimerosal (multidose containers), Thimerosal* (single-dose syringes)|
|Influenza (Fluzone)||Egg Protein, Formaldehyde or Formalin, Gelatin, Octoxinol-9 (Triton X-100), Thimerosal (multidose containers)|
|Influenza (FluMist)||Chick Kidney Cells, Egg Protein, Gentamicin Sulfate, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose Phosphate Glutamate Buffer|
*Where “thimerosal” is marked with an asterisk (*) it indicates that the product should be considered equivalent to thimerosal-free products. This vaccine may contain trace amounts (<0.3 mcg) of mercury left after post-production thimerosal removal, but these amounts have no biological effect.
All reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, but manufacturers may change product contents before that information is reflected here.