News & Events

Aug 24 09 Info from Al DeMaria MD re the H1N1 vaccine composition

The following is a response from MDPH’s Dr. Al DeMaria in regard to questions concerning Whether the H1N1 vaccine might pose any danger from thimerosol or from a chemical called squalene, used to stimulate the immune system to respond to the vaccine and whether there are any known links between squalene and autoimmune illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

He also discusses concern he has about resistance developing to oseltamivir and zanamivir.

Mary Crotty RN JD MA Nurses Association

There is no evidence of harm from squalene adjuvant in clinical trials. The association with neurological diseases is pure conjecture. However, very little of the vaccine to be used contains adjuvant and will probably be only used with that information provided and consent. Multi-dose vials will contain thimerosal as a preservative to prevent contamination and bacterial infections. Used for over 60 years in this fashion, there are no epidemiologic evidence from large studies associating thimerosal with autism, other neurologic diseases or measurable harm. There will also be some vaccine in single dose units without thimerosal. Whereas, influenza kills thousands of people every year and there is evidence that pandemic H1N1 might be worse and because of the higher attack rate in children put them at risk of severe morbidity and mortality. So, people have to balance known risk of influenza against conjecture and contentions not supported by science.

I am very concerned about resistance to oseltamivir and zanamivir emerging in pandemic flu virus. That is why it should be used carefully and when needed. Since, for ordinary illness due to seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses the impact of treatment is one day less illness, the drugs should be reserved for those at risk of severe complications where such a marginal effect might be of greater value.