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Talking About Vaccines
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Thimerosal
Talking about Vaccines: Thimerosal
Thimerosal (a molecule that contains ethyl mercury) is a widely used preservative in medical products. Since 2001, all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger are thimerosal-free, except for some formulations of inactivated influenza vaccine. Numerous studies have since shown that there is no relationship between vaccines, either with or without thimerosal, and the development of autism or other neurologic problems in children.
Thimerosal Resources
Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)
Click this arrow to view IAC's parent handouts
Handouts for Parents
IAC's collection of handouts for staff and patients
Clear Answers & Smart Advice About Your Baby's Shots
Clear Answers and Smart Advice About Your Baby's Shots by Ari Brown, MD, FAAP
Need Help Responding to Vaccine-Hesitant Parents? Science-Based Materials from Respected Organizations
Need Help Responding to Vaccine-Hesitant Parents? Science-Based Materials from Respected Organizations
Decision To Not Vaccinate My Child
Reliable Sources of Immunization Information
 
Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism
Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism
View All Handouts for Vaccine Confidence View All Handouts for Vaccine Confidence
View All IAC Handouts and Staff Education Materials
View All IAC Handouts and Staff Education Materials
Click this arrow to watch A Practical Guide to Improving Adult Vaccination Rates in Your Practice
Ask the Experts: Vaccine Safety
IAC's experts answer challenging questions about vaccines
Click this arrow to view IAC's collection of vaccine information statements
Vaccine Information Statements
VISs are information sheets produced by CDC that explain both the benefits and risks of a vaccine to vaccine recipients
Click this arrow to view IAC's collection of unprotected people reports
Unprotected People Stories
Real-life accounts of suffering and loss
Click this arrow to view the vaccine safety websection on vaccineinformation.org
Vaccine Basics: Vaccine Safety
The Vaccine Basics gateway page on vaccineinformation.org provides information about importance of vaccines and answers many common questions about vaccines and getting vaccinated.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Vaccines and Autism: A Summary of CDC Conducted or Sponsored Studies
Vaccines and Autism: A Summary of CDC Conducted or Sponsored Studies
This fact sheet provides a summary of studies that were conducted by CDC or with CDC’s involvement, including research information about thimerosal
Click this arrow for CDC's Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety
Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety
FAQ for parents from HHS, CDC, FDA, AAP, and AAFP
Click here to view CDC'S Timeline: Thimerosal in Vaccines (1999-2010)
Timeline: Thimerosal in Vaccines (1999-2010)
Timeline shows key activities of government agencies concerning thimerosal in vaccines from 1999 to 2010
Click here to view CDC'S Immunization Safety and Autism – Thimerosal and Autism Research chart
Immunization Safety and Autism – Thimerosal and Autism Research chart
Listing of studies, including description, study design, publication date, and objective
Vaccine Education Center (VEC), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Click this arrow to view VEC's Vaccines and Thimerosal
Vaccine Ingredients – Thimerosal
Information about thimerosal and summary of studies that show no link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism
Thimerosal: What You Should Know
Thimerosal: What You Should Know
Educational fact sheet for parents
>> Spanish-language version
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Thimerosal and Vaccines
Thimerosal and Vaccines
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence
Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence
List and links to articles that show there is no link between vaccines and autism
Vaccinate your Family (VYF)
Vaccine Ingredients: Is there mercury in vaccines? Why is thimerosal (ethylmercury-based preservative) in vaccines?
Vaccine Ingredients: Is there mercury in vaccines? Why is thimerosal (ethylmercury-based preservative) in vaccines?
Easy-to-understand explanation of ingredients included in vaccines
Vaccine Research: Thimerosal and Autism
Vaccine Research: Thimerosal and Autism
Summary table of studies about thimerosal in vaccines and autism, includes reference, lead researcher, objective, study method/design, conclusion, and funding
Institute of Medicine (IOM)
The National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine (IOM), is an impartial group of the world's leading experts that advises Congress on science issues. After reviewing more than 200 studies in 2004 and more than 1,000 studies in 2011, its consensus report strongly stated that the evidence did not show a link between vaccines and autism.
2011 Study: Adverse Effects of Vaccines – Evidence and Causality
2011 Study: Adverse Effects of Vaccines – Evidence and Causality
2004 Study: Immunization Safety Review – Vaccines and Autism
2004 Study: Immunization Safety Review – Vaccines and Autism
2001 Study: Immunization Safety Review – Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
2001 Study: Immunization Safety Review – Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
World Health Organization (WHO)
Click this arrow to view WHO's Thiomersal fact sheet
Thiomersal
Fact sheet provides key facts, overview, safety, and WHO response
Thimerosal and Vaccines
Thiomersal and Vaccines
Reports of the Global Vaccine Safety meetings
Vaxopedia
Thimerosal in Vaccines
Thimerosal in Vaccines
Vincent Iannelli, MD, explains thimerosal "…never actually linked to any real side effects…"
Lay Language Content
Parents magazine, October 3, 2005:
Parents magazine, October 3, 2005: "The Truth About Mercury in Vaccines" by Maureen Connolly
Straight talk about why parents don't need to worry about mercury in childhood vaccines
Parents magazine, September 2, 2020:
Parents magazine, September 2, 2020: "Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism—Here's the Proof" by Lauren Gelman
Countless studies have shown no link between vaccines and an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder
GLT
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TALKING ABOUT VACCINES
Adjuvants
Religious Concerns
Alternative Medicine Responding to Parents
Alternative Schedules Thimerosal
Autism Too Many Vaccines?
Importance of Vaccines Vaccine Safety
MMR Vaccine
 
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      FEATURED RESOURCE
Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety
Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety
A review of biology and public policy over the years
 
      VIDEOS
Video FAQs: Is there mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines? Is that dangerous?
Video FAQs: Is there mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines? Is that dangerous?
In this video clip, Dr. Mark Sawyer, Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. Mary-Beth Petraco, and Alison Singer talk answer common questions about thimerosal.
Video FAQs: Is there mercury in vaccines?
Video FAQs: Is there mercury in vaccines?
Paul A. Offit, MD, explains the different types of mercury and how they are processed in the human body. He also discusses which commonly recommended infant vaccines still contain mercury-associated preservatives.
Videos & PSAs
more videos for parents
Videos & PSAs
more videos for health care professionals
      POWERPOINT SLIDE SETS
PowerPoint: Common Immunization Myths and Misconceptions
Common Immunization Myths and Misconceptions
Talking points and resources for busy healthcare professionals
PowerPoint: Quick Answers to Tough Questions: Vaccine Talking Points for Busy Health Professionals
Quick Answers to Tough Questions: Vaccine Talking Points for Busy Health Professionals
Help parents who question vaccines; references provided
>> more PowerPoint presentations
      MORE INFORMATION
Administration of Thimerosal-containing Vaccines to Infant Rhesus Macaques Does Not Result in Autism-like Behavior or Neuropathology
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2015;112(Oct 6):12498–503. Gadad BS, et al.
Early Exposure to the Combined Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine and Thimerosal-containing Vaccines and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Vaccine, 2016;33(Jan 3):, 2511-6. Uno Y, et al.
Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal from Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism
Pediatrics, 2010;126(Oct):656-64. Price CS, et al.
Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
New England Journal of Medicine, 2007; 357(Sep 27):1281-92. Thompson WW, et al.
Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
Pediatrics, 2008;121(Feb):e208-14. Pichichero ME, et al. doi:0.1542/peds.2006-3363.
vaccineinformation.org
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Vaccine Questions?
• Email: nipinfo@cdc.gov
• Contact: State Immunization Program Managers
 
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This page was updated on February 8, 2021.
This page was reviewed on February 8, 2021.
 
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This website is supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (Grant No. 6NH23IP22550) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. The website content is the sole responsibility of IAC and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.