I generally recommend getting the annual flu vaccine, especially if the CDC prediction is for a particularly bad strain. Thimerosal, a preservative that contains minute amounts of mercury, has been used since the 1930's to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi should they get into a vaccine, as might happen when a needle enters a vaccine vial. There is no convincing evidence suggesting that any harm has been caused by thimerosal, which breaks down into ethylmercury and thiosalicylate in the body, both of which are easily eliminated.
I wouldn't worry about the small amount of thimerosal present in some flu vaccines – the health risks associated with influenza are far greater than any small risk thimerosal may present. Remember, the flu is a significant illness – each year more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and 20,000 die as a result of the infection and its complications.
For those who are still concerned about the presence of thimerosol in some flu vaccines you should know that a number of thimerosol-free options are available – learn more at this CDC website where you can find information about the 2012-2013 influenza season vaccine and the mercury content of the various vaccines available. (Go here.)Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: 3 Secrets to Never Get Sick Again. Get Super Immunity for Only $4.95. Click here.Pneumonia Shot
The "pneumonia shot” is a vaccine against disease caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The vaccine protects against almost all pneumococcal diseases, including lung infections. Pneumococcal pneumonia is more serious than viral pneumonia and is a common cause of hospitalization and death in older people. I recommend the pneumococcal vaccine for everyone age 65 and older (it is covered by Medicare). At this age, you’re two to three times more likely to get pneumococcal infections than younger people are. The vaccine is also recommended for anyone with chronic heart or lung disease, diabetes and for anyone with a weakened immune system. A different form of vaccination against pneumococcal disease is recommended for infants and children. Not only can vaccinating your children in this way help keep them healthy, it also limits the spread of pneumococcal infection to adults.
-- With Marti Lotman
Andrew Weil, M.D., is Founder and Director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Arizona, and Director of Integrative Health and Healing, Miraval Resort. He is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, which combines conventional medicine with alternative approaches. He received his medical degree from Harvard University. Dr. Weil’s new book is True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure.SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.