A hot topic that often comes up in parents’ circles is about vaccines. As a new parent, one is always left with conflicting thoughts – Am I getting it right? Should I be going for the less painful vaccines or regular ones? Are these far too many vaccines? Add to that the complexity of preservative-free vaccines – a trend that’s fast catching up but about which not enough information exists.
When my daughter was a baby, this is one topic I wanted to deep dive into and I spent a good amount of time researching and talking to her paediatrician about this. Here are a few vital things I learnt that will help new parents who are looking for information on preservative-free vaccines:
- Vaccines contain preservatives because they need to be stored for a long time. That’s how thimerosal comes into the picture. It is a mercury based preservative.
- The mercury is not retained in the human body for a long period of time. Hence, there is not much chance of it having an adverse effect on the body.
- Since 2001, the entire child vaccine series have been made thimerosal (mercury) preservative-free.
- Flu vaccines work differently as they are reformulated every year and the most efficient way to produce the shot is in multi dose vials which require preservatives. However, there are single dose preparations which are preservative-free.
- The contention that thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative, causes autism is false and has been concluded by the National Academy of Medicine in 2004. Even then, parents might have concerns regarding the presence of preservatives in vaccines and that’s why they choose to opt for vaccines that are preservative-free.
- If you are still keen on preservative-free vaccines, it’s good to know the side effects that may occur. Some side effects include pain, swelling, fatigue and low-grade fever.
- It is important to note that preservative-free vaccines are not as readily available as the traditional multi dose ones and may need a special order to be placed. It’s best to leave it to the guidance of your paediatrician on what’s the best option for your baby.
If you have concerns about the kind of vaccine you should opt for, it’s best to stay informed. Talk to your child’s paediatrician today and ask for preservative-free vaccines.
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Image courtesy- parenting.firstcry.com