By Bill Kray
I Don’t Want a Shot!
Children quickly associate shots with pain. Some even cry at the mention of receiving a shot. Many adults fear ingredients more than needles, wondering "Will it get me sick?" or "Does it contain mercury?" The CDC shares with the public the content of recommended vaccines.
What’s in the Flu Vaccine?
Today, except for multi-dose vials of flu vaccine, none of the childhood vaccines used routinely in the United States contain mercury (thimerosal) as a preservative.
|Type of Ingredient||Examples||Purpose|
|Preservatives||Thimerosal (only in multi-dose vials of flu vaccine)||Prevents contamination|
|Adjuvants||Aluminum salts||Helps stimulate the body’s response to the antigens|
|Stabilizers||Sugars, gelatin||Maintains vaccine potentcy during transportation and storage|
|Residual cell culture materials||Egg protein||To grow enough of the virus or bacteria to make the vaccine|
|Residual inactivating ingredients||Formaldehyde||Kill viruses or inactivate toxins during manufacturing process|
|Residual antibiotics||Penicillin, sulfa drugs||Prevents contamination by bacteria during vaccine manufacturing process|
There is no evidence of harm caused by the small amounts of thimerosal in flu vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. Flu vaccines that do not contain thimerosal are available.
On February 27, 2013, VRBAC met and approved for the United States the following WHO-recommended composition for the Northern Hemisphere 2013-2014 influenza vaccine:
- an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- an A(H3N2) virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011;
- a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
While everyone should get a flu vaccine this season, it’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following:
1. People who are at high risk of developing serious complications (like pneumonia) if they get sick with the flu.
- People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
- Pregnant women.
- People younger than 5 years (and especially those younger than 2), and people 65 years and older.
- A complete list is available at People Who Are at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.
2. People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications (see list above).
- Household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
- Household contacts and caregivers of infants less than 6 months old.
- Health care personnel.
People who have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs, or who have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, may be advised not to get vaccinated. People who have had a mild reaction to egg — that is, one which only involved hives — may receive the flu shot with additional precautions.
|Fever accompanied by chills and tremors||Wheezing|
|Body aches and pains||Shortness of breath|
|Runny blocked nose with headaches||Slight or mild fever|
|Feeling tired and weak||Deep repeated cough, with mucus and phlegm|
|Coughing and sneezing||Weakness and fatigue|
|Watery eyes||Sore throat|
|Vomiting, diarrhea (common child symptom)||Slight pain in the chest area|
|Sore throat||Blocked nose|
|Sweating||Pain in throat|
It's a slippery slope from the flu to acute bronchitis or pneumonia. When a person is sick with influenza or common cold, the condition could worsen, and spread to lungs in the form of bronchitis. The combined effect can last for months. The influenza season is already upon us. Have you received your vaccination or are you braving it out due to allergies or a fear of needles?