How to find vaccinations without preservatives

Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 08:51 am
My daughter, Butrflynet, is alergic to the preservatives in vaccines. We first discovered this when she got her polio vacination when she was three years old. She collapsed as we returned to our car in the parking lot. Every time she got a vaccination, she got sick for at least three days. As a result, she didn't want to get flu shots as an adult.

She moved from California to Albuquerque in March this year to live with me. Mom was getting old and turned 80 in July. She got a flu shot in September because she wanted to protect me. She became sick for three days as usual. We want to give her a Pneumonia vaccine to protect her as well as the HINI vaccine, but don't want to risk her becoming sick.

Does anyone know if vaccines are available without the preservatives she is alergic to? How and where are they available?


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Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 09:05 am
My current understanding is that the H1N1 flu vaccine will be available in three ways: flu mist (live, but "attenuated" virus) which is applied to the sinus membranes, single-injection shot that does not contain thimerisol as a preservative, and a two-injection shot which does contain thimerasol.
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 09:07 am
Vaccine Ingredients That May Cause Allergic Reactions
Many people are unaware of the problems associated with allergic reactions to vaccine components. According to the 2006 Red Book (Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 2006 AAP), allergic reactions to vaccine ingredients are rare. The most common difficulties are encountered with hypersensitivities to chickens or eggs, mercury, certain antibiotics, or to gelatin.

If your child has Antibiotic Allergies:

* Both types of polio vaccine include streptomycin, neomycin, and polymyxin B (also found in Polysporin, Neosporin, and Betadine Plus topical ointments). The MMR and the varicella vaccine have trace amounts of neomycin. Most allergic reactions to these antibiotics are nothing more than mild skin rashes. However, if your child has a severe allergy with systemic symptoms to these or related antibiotics, you should avoid these vaccines.
* No vaccine contains penicillin or penicillin-related antibiotics. This type of allergy is not a reason to miss any vaccine.

# If your child has Chicken and Egg Allergies: The current measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) does not contain a significant amount of egg proteins (but two other vaccines do). Even those with dramatic egg allergies are extremely unlikely to have an anaphylactic reaction to the MMR.
# The influenza vaccine ("flu shot") contains egg protein. People who react to eggs, chicken, or chicken feathers with systemic symptoms (a drop in blood pressure, significant wheezing, difficulty breathing, or generalized hives) generally should not get the flu vaccine.
# The yellow fever vaccine also contains egg protein. Yellow fever is still a major problem for people living in or traveling to tropical South America or Africa. Rather than skipping it, most candidates for the vaccine who have a suspected allergy should get a series of two skin tests with the vaccine. If both tests are fine, proceed with the vaccine. If either test shows a reaction, a process of desensitization is begun.

If your child has Gelatin Allergies:

* Some of the live vaccines do contain gelatin as a stabilizing agent.
* Gelatin is an ingredient in MMR, varicella, and yellow fever vaccines. People with severe allergies to gelatin should consider skin testing prior to receiving a gelatin-containing vaccine.
* Most gelatins in foods come from boiled cows, while the gelatin used in vaccines is from boiled pigs. People may not know that they are allergic to pig gelatin.

If your child has Mercury Allergies:

* Mercury (thimerosal) is an ingredient in several vaccines -- included in order to kill any live contaminants. In rare instances, this causes allergic reactions. It is most likely to be used for a vaccine stored in a multi-dose vial.
* All of the vaccines in the routine schedule are available in thimerosal-free forms or contain only trace amounts of thimerosal, with the exception of some inactivated influenza vaccines. There is a trace thimerosal-containing formulation of the inactivated influenza vaccine, but it is available in limited supply.
* The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the United States Public Health Service (PHS) has called for the elimination of mercury from all vaccines. Multi-dose vials require a preservative to prevent microbial contamination after the vial is opened, but manufacturers are encouraged to seek alternatives.

Alan Greene MD FAAP

Reviewed by: Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin MD & Rebecca Hicks M.D.
Originally published: July 08, 1999
Last reviewed and updated: July 2008
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Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 09:41 am
Thanks for the info DrewDad. I've been trying to learn how and where the non-preservative can be obtained. Since Butrflynet doesn't have health insurance, I have to find a source that can treat her.

Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 10:09 am
Latest word I have is that the H1N1 vaccine will not be available for another week or two.

I don't think flu clinics know what they're getting until they actually receive their shipments.
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 12:04 pm
at least here in New Mexico the vaccination is only available to pg women, health care workers and those under 21 yrs old a this time.
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Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 03:04 pm
I've gotten flu shots in the '80's in California and had reactions to it. Every year BBB nags us to get our shots and every year I say no because I always get the flu from them. I guess it isn't the flu, just yet another allergic reaction like I had with the polio shot.

I got the regular flu shot at Walgreen's a couple weeks ago. Immediately after the injection I started feeling the reaction. BBB and the nurse kept saying it was just anxiety while I kept feeling more and more light headed and felt like I might pass out. Finally they realized it was more than just anxiety and made me sit there for a few minutes. But I was feeling like my throat was closing up and not getting enough air so I slowly made my way outside and sat on the car until I felt okay to drive us home. It took 3 days for it to get out of my body. First it felt like every joint in my body was on fire and I had one of the worst headaches I've ever had while running a slightly higher temperature. The next day it changed to a subnormal temperature and it was the muscles that were aching. After three days of having that light-headed car sickness feeling, I finally felt better and was back to normal.

I think I'd rather take my chances on maybe getting the flu and just use as many preventive measures as possible to not do so.

I'm not allergic to eggs and I eat Jello frequently, so it must be the mercury in the preservative.
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 03:11 pm
Be careful with seasonal vaccines this year -


There is some evidence that regular Flu vaccinations make people more likely to catch the swine flu.

Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 04:33 pm
Butrflynet wrote:
I'm not allergic to eggs and I eat Jello frequently, so it must be the mercury in the preservative.

Most seasonal flu vaccines are thimerosol-free nowadays.
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Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 04:39 pm
Ack. That's new to me. (And I'd just become convinced to get the vaccines...) I wonder if it could be a correlation-not-causation thing... that people who are most at risk are most likely to get the vaccines? (But being most at risk, still get H1N1 more than people who are lower-risk who didn't get the vaccine...)
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 04:41 pm
sozobe wrote:

Ack. That's new to me. (And I'd just become convinced to get the vaccines...) I wonder if it could be a correlation-not-causation thing... that people who are most at risk are most likely to get the vaccines? (But being most at risk, still get H1N1 more than people who are lower-risk who didn't get the vaccine...)

It's preliminary, so don't freak out or anything. I think your correlation v. causation thing is likely correct.

I never get Flu shots, ever. Don't believe in 'em.

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Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 06:05 pm
I am very allergic to thimerosal and if I eat too mcch shrimp, I get welts on my back and head. It used to be in contact lense solution.

Always ASK what preservative are in anything you inject into your body.

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