Thimerosal-Free Flu Vaccines

What you need to know about thimerosal and the flu shot, plus a list of thimerosal-free brands.

Thimerosal-Free Flu Vaccines

Thimerosal is used as a preservative to prevent contamination of vaccine in multidose vials. Essentially, it kills any bacteria that may be introduced into a vial after multiple uses. This means that all brands are thimerosal free in single-dose form except Fluvirin made by Novartis, which contains an exceedingly small amount.

The question to ask your doctor is not which brand of flu shot they are using, but if the vaccine is a single use or if it was drawn from a multidose vial. If it’s a multidose vial, you should avoid it since all contain thimerosal to varying degrees. If it’s a single dose, it has no thimerosal. Below is a list of thimerosal-free vaccine brands. If you are pregnant, you should get the flu shot, not FluMis


Fluarix®  Quadravalent, single dose

FluLaval®  Quadravalent, single dose

Fluzone®  Quadravalent, single (any dose, syringe/vial)

Afluria® , single dose

Fluarix® , single dose

FluLaval® , single dose

Fluzone®, single dose

Fluzone®  Intradermal, single dose

Flucelvax®, single dose

Fluzone®  High-Dose, single dose

FluBlok®, single dose

FluMist®  Quadravalent Intranasal Spray, single dose

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No matter what your skin tone is, unless you live in a cave with no sunlight, daily protection with either sunscreen, sunblock or protective clothing can not only protect you from developing sunburns (ouch!) but can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly the deadliest type called melanoma. In addition, for those of you wanting to keep your youthful looks, daily sunscreen has been shown to reduce the development of wrinkles. A great teacher once told me that the best way to not have wrinkles is not to get them in the first place (think of how much money you can save on useless creams that claim to diminish wrinkles).

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