Thimerosal in vaccines: a joint statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1999 Jul 9;48(26):563-5.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act of 1997 called for FDA to review and assess the risk of all mercury-containing food and drugs. In line with this review, U.S. vaccine manufacturers responded to a December 1998 and April 1999 FDA request to provide more detailed information about the thimerosal content of their preparations that include this compound as a preservative. Thimerosal has been used as an additive to biologics and vaccines since the 1930s because it is very effective in killing bacteria used in several vaccines and in preventing bacterial contamination, particularly in opened multidose containers. Some but not all of the vaccines recommended routinely for children in the United States contain thimerosal.

MeSH terms

  • Legislation, Drug
  • Mercury
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical*
  • Risk
  • Thimerosal*
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Vaccines / chemistry*


  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Vaccines
  • Thimerosal
  • Mercury