Managing Editor's Note: You've likely seen the media flurry that spins fever during pregnancy into "flu shots may prevent autism." No mention of the mercury in the flu shots of course. Below is a post we ran back in 2009 - that dispels the notion that flu vaccination has been properly tested in pregnant women. Did you have a flu shot while pregnant? Tell us in the comments.
By Jim Thompson
The CDC and FDA are still telling stories about how thimerosal, which contains 50 percent mercury and is a known neurotoxin, is safe for pregnant women in flu vaccines. The reference for this fable is Heinonen, Shapiro, Monson et al from 1973.
"Is it safe for pregnant women to receive an influenza vaccine that contains thimerosal? Yes. A study of influenza vaccination examining over 2,000 pregnant women demonstrated no adverse fetal effects associated with influenza vaccine." See CDC and FDA, 2008.
Apparently this fiction was previously published in 2004 by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
“One study of influenza vaccination of over 2,000 pregnant women demonstrated no adverse fetal effects associated with influenza vaccine.”
Ayoub and Yazbak exposed this whopper in “Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy: A Critical Assessment of the Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).”
“This solitary safety study, by Heinonen et al., has in fact very little to do with the safety of influenza vaccination. The reported outcomes were strictly limited to malignancies, mostly after polio vaccination during pregnancy.” Ibid.
Apparently the bologna was also served in 2006 in a paper by Naleway. The references included Heinonen, Shapiro, Monson et al 1973 and Heinonen, Sloan, and Shapiro et al 1976.
“Over 2,000 pregnant women received inactivated influenza vaccine as part of the Collaborative Perinatal Project, a longitudinal population-based study conducted in the 1960s. Maternal vaccination during pregnancy was not associated with fetal malformations, cognitive or neurologic disabilities, or childhood cancers during 7 years of follow-up with this cohort (30, 31).” See Naleway, 2006 .
And Ayoub and Yazbak exposed this phony claim as well.
“Heinonen et al. (13, 14) recorded birth defects, but not fetal viability, and actually reported an increased risk of several specific birth defects (cleft palate, microcephaly, pyloric stenosis) associated with prenatal influenza vaccine exposure as well as increases in malformations following exposures to the vaccine preservative thimerosal.”
So CDC and FDA please spare us the tall tales. The truth is it has not been proven safe for pregnant women to receive an influenza vaccine that contains thimerosal!
Jim Allen Thompson