Childhood vaccinations have not contained a mercury-based preservative for several years. But most flu shots still do and some parents are concerned.
For years, some parents with autistic children have blamed the mercury based thimerosal preservative for causing their child's autism.
Dan Hopfensperger heads the state's immunization program says the connection is only theoretical. It has never been proven. He says while there is no known scientific link between mercury based thimerosal and any harmful effects, they do know the flu in young children can make them very sick and even cause death.
The state Health Department's advice is to go ahead and get a flu shot. Hopfensperger says it's better to protect your children against a known entity, such as the flu, rather than react to something that hasn't been proven.
Hopfensperger says you can ask your provider if they have any thimerosal-free vaccine, although supplies of that are limited. Flu vaccine manufacturers are switching to vaccines that do not use mercury as a preservative.