Pregnancy & Childhood


In March of 2001, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement warning pregnant women and young children not to eat fish containing high levels of methylmercury because of known links to neurological problems in children.

Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that these same women and young children get seasonal influenza vaccines.

Many influenza vaccines contain ethylmercury from the preservative thimerosal, which after injection, results in blood levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended safe levels for mercury.

SafeMinds is deeply concerned that the risks of getting mercury-containing seasonal influenza vaccines outweigh the benefits for pregnant women, infants and children. Mercury is known to be highly toxic to brain tissue and can impact critical stages of brain development.

A large-scale scientific study in approximately 50,000 pregnant women over five flu seasons found no difference in the risk for developing influenza illness among those who received the influenza vaccine during pregnancy and those who did not. Reviews in the medical journal The Lancet found a lack of health benefit from influenza vaccine in children under two along with significantly increasing rates of vaccine- related adverse events.

Investigation into the effectiveness of the flu vaccine which examined 274 studies of influenza vaccines and 28 epidemiological studies from 1966 to 2007 with over 3,000,000 participants found only 1-in-100 people ever gets the flu virus while 7-in-100 develop flu-like illnesses.

Flu vaccine is documented to cause an inflammatory response in pregnant women. Recent research found inflammation experienced during pregnancy associated with the development of autism spectrum disorders.

Know the Facts

If You Are Pregnant or Have Small Children . . .

More Information

The FDA-assigned Pregnancy Category B
Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the
fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant

The FDA-assigned Pregnancy Category C
Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus
and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but
potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women
despite potential risks.

Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccine during Pregnancy in Preventing Hospitalizations and Outpatient Visits for Respiratory Illness in Pregnant Women and Their Infants   Download study here.

Why are we still injecting mercury into pregnant women, infants and children? A review of the thimerosal issue.  SafeMinds letter to ACIP.  Download here.

Methylmercury: Epidemiology Update by Kate Mahaffey, EPA Download Power Point

Study from Pediatrics showing better efficacy of the live nasal flu vaccine vs. the inactivated flu vaccine in children – Trivalent live attenuated intranasal influenza vaccine administered during the 2003-2004 influenza type A (H3N2) outbreak provided immediate, direct, and indirect protection in children.  View abstract

Study showing better efficacy of live nasal flu vaccine vs. inactivated vaccine in preventing acute otitis media in children – The Efficacy of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Against Influenza-associated Acute Otitis Media in Children  View abstract