Today, the FDA approved a newly formulated version of Tripedia, a diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DtaP) vaccine without preservatives and with only a trace amount of thimerosal.
"This approval is significant because now all routinely recommended pediatric
vaccines will be available as either completely thimerosal free or without any
significant amounts of thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury," said
Dr. Bernard Schwetz, Acting Principal Deputy Commissioner. "Although thimerosal
is a very effective preservative, the Public Health Service recommended that
thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated from vaccines as soon as possible
to minimize the exposure of infants and young children to mercury."
Tripedia now contains less than 0.5 micrograms of mercury per dose, a greater
than 95% reduction in the amount of thimerosal per dose compared to the original
version of Tripedia.
The pediatric vaccines that are recommended for routine use are: DTaP, hepatitis
B, Haemophilus conjugate (Hib), pneumococcal conjugate, inactivated poliovirus,
varicella, measles, mumps and rubella. Since 1999, pediatric formulations of
hepatitis B vaccines that either contain no thimerosal (Recombivax HB) or trace
amounts (EngerixB) have been approved.
In recent years, various federal agencies have been
health risks of mercury, which is found in the environment, in
food and in
household products. Although no harmful effects have been
thimerosal at doses that were used in vaccines, the PHS
American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers
thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines to make
vaccines even safer.