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State lifts limit on mercury preservative in swine-flu shots

Sandi Doughton
Seattle Times [1]
Friday, September 25, 2009

In preparation for swine-flu vaccinations next month, Washington’s Health Department on Thursday temporarily suspended a rule that limits the amount of a mercury preservative in vaccines given to pregnant women and children under the age of 3.

The preservative, thimerosal, has never been linked to any health problems, said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. But a vocal minority believes the compound could be linked to autism. The state Legislature adopted the limit in 2006.

Thimerosal has been eliminated from most vaccines in the United States, but it will be added to the bulk of the swine-flu vaccine being produced to stem a pandemic that health officials estimate could sicken more than a third of the state’s residents.

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[2]

Pregnant women and young children are considered at high risk for swine flu, and lifting the mercury limits will give them quicker access to the vaccine, Selecky said.

“It’s vital that everyone in a high-risk group has the choice to be vaccinated when swine-flu vaccine becomes available,” she said.

Full story here. [1]