Thimerosal Ban Will Cause Vaccine Shortage, Docs Warn

A proposed thimerosal ban for vaccines after fears of adverse affects among parents has been proposed, but doctors warn in a new Pediatrics report that such measures could do more harm than good in making vaccines less accessible — particularly in vulnerable populations.

The suggested thimerosal ban is slated to be a topic of discussion in 2013 during a UN convention, and, ahead of talks, doctors urge government reps to consider the ramifications of banning the preservative in vaccines on the future of disease prevention globally.

The New York Times explains:

“Representatives from governments around the world will meet in Geneva next month in a session convened by the United Nations Environmental Program to prepare a global treaty to reduce health hazards by banning certain products and processes that release mercury into the environment … But a proposal that the ban include thimerosal, which has been used since the 1930s to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination in multidose vials of vaccines, has drawn strong criticism from pediatricians.”

According to the paper, the Pediatrics coverage predicts a thimerosal ban would lead to, in coming years, lengthy and devastating vaccine shortages that would disproportionately affect at-risk populations where disease is more likely to spread.

The articles set to be published explain that a thimerosal ban would precipitate single-dose only vaccines and require extensive retrofitting of storage systems worldwide to cope with proposed regulations on the preservative.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed similar concerns about a thimerosal ban, saying that the WHO is “gravely concerned that current global discussions may threaten access to thimerosal-containing vaccines without scientific justification.”