Gearing Up for the Flu Season

It’s getting to be that time again when advertising campaigns will begin to persuade you to take flu shots in order to prevent contracting influenza. This writer wonders what kind of advertising campaign the feds will come up with for the 2013-14 flu season to persuade everyone to roll up his or her sleeve for any one of numerous trivalent and this season’s newly-approved quadrivalent influenza vaccines per the CDC’s website.

One has to keep in mind that some flu vaccines have mercury (Hg) in the form of Thimerosal in several multi-dose vial vaccines, that is, those vials from which healthcare professionals can fill empty syringes in their offices, not manufacturers’ prefilled syringes. If you are of the belief that a flu vaccine is helpful but want to avoid mercury in flu vaccines, then you ought to make certain that you receive a manufacturer’s prefilled-syringe-flu-vaccine. That is key with the exception of the Fluvirin® 0.5 mL one dose prefilled syringe, which contains some Thimerosal. For information about prefilled syringes, please see “Flu Vaccine Approved in Prefilled Syringe.”

Since mercury in vaccines is of concern, readers may want to know that the following flu vaccines contain Thimerosal, which is 49.6% Hg – ethylmercury:

Trivalent Vaccines 

Afluria® 5.0 mL multi-dose vial—one 0.5mL jab will contain 24.5 μg Hg package insert here.

FluLaval® 5.0 mL multi-dose vial—one 0.5 mL jab will contain less than 25μg Hg  package insert here.

Fluvirin® 0.5 mL one dose prefilled syringe will contain ≤ 1 μg Hg 5.0 mL multi-dose vial—one 0.5 mL jab will contain 25 μg Hg package insert here.

Fluzone® 5.0 mL multi-dose vial—one 0.5 mL jab will contain 25 μg Hg package insert here.

FluLaval® Quadrivalent 5.0 mL multi-dose vial—one jab will contain 25 μg Hg package insert here.

Please keep in mind that one (1) microgram (μg) equals 0.0010 milligram (mg).


FluMist ® Quadrivalent is a live-attenuated vaccine that can shed vaccine virus to others, but has no mercury in its 0.2 mL prefilled intranasal sprayer package insert here.

Package inserts are provided for flu vaccines in this article because they contain important information that consumers should know before receiving any vaccine. That’s part of the informed consent process every savvy healthcare consumer should practice. Be certain to read the package inserts carefully, especially with regard to Contraindications, Warnings and Precautions, and Adverse Reactions.

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