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Flu Vaccine Facts

*National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and Brusewitz v. Wyeth

We compiled these resources to help you make informed decisions about the flu vaccine in order to protect you and your family from harm. For instance, mercury (thimerosal) is a neurotoxin and contained in some flu vaccines. It has been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders and many diseases.


Know The Facts

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pharmaceutical companies mount an aggressive campaign in the mainstream media to persuade Americans to get their flu shots. Flu shots are big business: industry analysts estimate that within the next five years, the U.S. flu vaccine market will be worth approximately $7.5 billion annually, up from $5 billion in 2018.

The CDC has advised the industry to hike demand through the use of a “recipe” of messaging to get your flu shot now through advertisements that include “…statements of alarm by public health authorities…prediction of dire outcomes from influenza…continued reports that influenza is causing severe illness affecting lots of people…repeated urging of influenza vaccination…” that bombard consumers.

Roughly half of the claims compensated in the NVICP (6,883 claims) have been for influenza vaccine injuries. The total compensation to date (paid for by consumers) is over $4.2 billion. As the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a voluntary surveillance system, is acknowledged by the government to capture as little as one percent of actual adverse events, the flu vaccine injuries and deaths could be as high as 320,000.

Articles by Children’s Health Defense:

Thimerosal in the Flu Vaccination Supply

For the 2020-21 Season:

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. For the 2020-21 season, manufacturers have projected they will provide as many as 194 to 198 million doses of influenza vaccine for the U.S. market. For the 2020-21 season, manufacturers will produce influenza vaccines containing thimerosal and some vaccines that do not contain thimerosal. For the 2020-2021 season, only multi-dose vial presentations of influenza vaccines contain thimerosal. Approximately 87% of projected vaccine supply, or 171 million doses of flu vaccine, produced for the 2020-2021 flu season will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced (i.e., preservative-free). (CDC Vaccine Supply and Distribution)

TABLE 1. Influenza vaccines — United States, 2020–21 influenza season
Trade name
(Manufacturer)
Presentation Age indication HA (IIVs and RIV4) or virus count (LAIV4) for each vaccine virus (per dose) Route Mercury (from thimerosal) μg/0.5mL
IIV4
Standard dose, egg based†
Afluria Quadrivalent
(Seqirus)
0.25-mL PFS§ 6 through 35 mos 7.5 μg/0.25 mL
15 μg/0.5 mL
IM
0.5-mL PFS ≥3 yrs
5.0-mL MDV§ ≥6 mos
(needle/syringe)
18 through 64 yrs
(jet injector)
24.5
Fluarix Quadrivalent
(GlaxoSmithKline)
0.5-mL PFS ≥6 mos 15 μg/0.5 mL IM
FluLaval Quadrivalent
(GlaxoSmithKline)
0.5-mL PFS ≥6 mos 15 μg/0.5 mL IM
Fluzone Quadrivalent
(Sanofi Pasteur)
0.5-mL PFS** ≥6 mos 15 μg/0.5 mL IM
0.5-mL SDV ≥6 mos
5.0-mL MDV ≥6 mos 25
Standard dose, cell culture based (ccIIV4)
Flucelvax Quadrivalent
(Seqirus)
0.5-mL PFS ≥4 yrs 15 μg/0.5 mL IM
5.0-mL MDV ≥4 yrs 25
High dose, egg based† (HD-IIV4)
Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent
(Sanofi Pasteur)
0.7-mL PFS ≥65 yrs 60 μg/0.7 mL IM
Standard dose, egg based† with MF59 adjuvant (aIIV4)
Fluad Quadrivalent
(Seqirus)
0.5-mL PFS ≥65 yrs 15 μg/0.5 mL IM
IIV3
Standard dose, egg based† with MF59 adjuvant (aIIV3)
Fluad
(Seqirus)
0.5-mL PFS ≥65 yrs 15 μg/0.5 mL IM
RIV4
Recombinant HA
Flublok Quadrivalent
(Sanofi Pasteur)
0.5-mL PFS ≥18 yrs 45 μg/0.5 mL IM
LAIV4
Egg based†
FluMist Quadrivalent
(AstraZeneca)
0.2-mL prefilled single-use intranasal sprayer 2 through 49 yrs 106.5-7.5 fluorescent focus units/0.2 mL NAS

Table Source: Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines, 2020-21

Flu Brochure References for 2020-21 Flu Brochure:

In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that one in every six women has mercury blood levels that could pose a risk to an unborn child.

Mercury rapidly crosses the placenta and accumulates in the fetus at higher levels than in the mother. Two studies in 2012 showed that a mother’s mercury exposure is linked to attention problems in her children.

Scientific studies have documented that ethylmercury used in vaccines crosses into the infant brain and could impact critical stages of brain development.

It is inconsistent to recommend vaccines containing ethylmercury when also counseling pregnant women to avoid seafood high in methylmercury due to the known harmful effects mercury can have on the developing fetus.

Thimerosal-containing flu vaccines contain 250 times the mercury level the EPA uses to classify hazardous waste. Unused thimerosal-containing flu vaccine should be returned to the manufacturer for appropriate disposal.

An Australian study found one in every 110 children under the age of 5 had convulsions following vaccination with the FLUVAX H1N1 vaccine in 2009.

Additional research found a spike in cases of narcolepsy in children associated with the H1N1 vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns pregnant women and young children not to eat fish containing high levels of methylmercury. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends pregnant women and infants get influenza vaccines, many of which contain ethylmercury from the preservative thimerosal. Receiving them may result in mercury exposures exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended maximum levels.

The research on fetal exposure to mercury from maternal flu shots has never been done.

For a 6-month-old infant, the calculation is as follows:  The average 50th percentile weight for a 6-month-old is 7.6kg, the maximum recommended daily exposure to methylmercury per the EPA is 0.1 mcg/kg/day (or .76155 mcg for this weight) and an infant flu shot may contain 12.5 mcg of mercury. This yields an exposure 16 times the EPA limit from a single flu shot.

Children’s Health Defense is deeply concerned that the risks of getting mercury-containing seasonal influenza vaccines may outweigh the benefits for pregnant women, infants and children.  Mercury is known to be highly toxic to brain tissue and can impact critical stages of brain development.

A 2017 CDC study links miscarriage to flu vaccines, particularly in the first trimester.  Pregnant women vaccinated in the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 flu seasons had two times greater odds of having a miscarriage within 28 days of receiving the vaccine.  In women who had received the H1N1 vaccine in the previous flu season, the odds of having a miscarriage within 28 days were 7.7 times greater than in women who did not receive a flu shot during their pregnancy.

A study published in 2016 that looked at the safety of flu vaccines found a moderately elevated risk for major birth defects in infants born to women who had received a flu vaccine during the first trimester of pregnancy. A study published in 2017 found an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorders in children whose mothers had a first trimester flu shot.

Flu vaccine administration is documented to cause an inflammatory response in pregnant women. Recent research found inflammation during pregnancy is associated with the development of autism spectrum disorders.

A large study in approximately 50,000 pregnant women over five flu seasons found no difference in the risk for developing influenza or similar illnesses between those who received the influenza vaccine during pregnancy and those who did not.

An independent 2014 review found no randomized controlled trials assessing vaccination in pregnant women.  It states, “The only evidence available comes from observational studies with modest methodological quality.  On this basis, vaccination shows very limited effects.”

If you decide to vaccinate, insist on mercury-free influenza vaccines for yourself and your children and do not get a flu vaccine the same day as other vaccines.

All vaccines, with or without mercury, pose health risks.  However, the influenza vaccine is of great concern, as many brands contain high levels of mercury in their multi-dose vials.  Be sure to read package inserts for any vaccine prior to getting vaccinated.

According to flu vaccine package inserts, “Safety and effectiveness has not been established in pregnant women or nursing mothers and should only be given to a pregnant woman if clearly needed.

A study that compared children who received flu vaccine to those who did not found the same rate of influenza in both groups following vaccination.  It also found that the group of children who received the flu vaccine had a 4.4 times higher rate of non-influenza respiratory tract infections.

A review in the medical journal The Lancet found a lack of health benefits from influenza vaccine in children under two along with significantly increased rates of vaccine-related adverse events.

According to the CDC over the past 14 seasons, the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine has varied from 10% to 60%.

Simple techniques such as avoiding those with flu-like illnesses, eating a healthy diet and good hand washing can prevent many cases of flu.  If you do contract influenza, optimizing vitamin D levels, fluid intake and rest can boost immune function.

Consider the evidence regarding the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in actually preventing influenza.  For information, visit summaries.cochrane.org