Do flu shots contain thimerosal?


Quick Answer

Whereas most single-dose vials and prefilled syringes of flu shot do not contain thimerosal, vaccines in multidose vials usually do, states Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thimerosal keeps the vial clean against contamination.

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Full Answer

Thimerosal is a preservative that contains ethylmercury and helps keep the vaccine vial safe from germs, bacteria and fungi. The human body can easily break down thimerosal into ethylmercury and thiosalicylate. Ethylmercury should not be confused with the methylmercury, warns CDC. Despite the toxicity of methylmercury, the human body can easily get rid of ethylmercury.

Studies have shown that thimerosal is completely safe when used in vaccines unless the person receiving the vaccine is allergic to thimerosal, adds CDC. Allergic reaction to thimerosal is rare. There is also no proven link between thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.

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