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H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine: Adjuvanted Vs. Unadjuvanted

Updated on November 25, 2009

Two separate Swine Flu vaccines to confront the H1N1 pandemic are currently being made available through medical services around the world. However, the USA lags behind as it is only using unadjuvanted vaccines. What that means is that there are various chemical elements used in the adjuvanted vaccines like Arepanrix. Some of these adjuvants include squalene (a fish oil), vitamin E, and polysorbate 80 (to help keep the adjuvant and the vaccine particles well mixed).

The adjuvanted vaccines contain a smaller number of H1N1 flu particles because the squalene seems to boost the effect of the viral material that is in the vaccine. The squalene booster improves the human body's immune system response to the administration of the vaccine and this has a beneficial effect in two ways. First of all there are less viral particles being injected into your body, and second, there are more flu particles left over in the lab to make more doses of vaccine for more people!

One other factor that isn't mentioned very often is that adjuvanted vaccines tend to provide greater protection once the virus mutates after immunization. Unadjuvanted vaccines tend to be very specific for the virus they're intended for. As the virus mutates (and viruses mutate all the time) the unadjuvanted vaccine may end up not being a proper match for the virus in your body. And that's bad news.

If you want an adjuvanted vaccine, you need to go outside the United States as the government refuses to make those types of vaccines available. The American government has decided do rely exclusively on monovalent unadjuvanted vaccines from Novartis, Sanofi Pasteur and other manufacturers. However, one of the most popular worldwide unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccines is Panvax by Australian company CSL but it is not yet in mainstream use in the USA.

It seems that the American fears of adjuvanted vaccines may be pointless. Squalene based adjuvanted vaccines have been used in Europe and other countries for many years and there have never been significant health concerns noted in the medical literature. What I would be more concerned about is the thimerosal which is present in both adjuvanted vaccines like Arepanrix and the unadjuvanted ones like Panvax. This substance is added to the vaccine to prevent bacterial contamination before administration. Vaccine which has been contaminated by bacteria can lead to extremely serious infections.

Major clinical studies have not shown a link between thimerosal and health problems. However, once thimerosal is metabolized inside the body it breaks down into various chemical substances and one of them is ethyl mercury. Now unless you've been living on the dark side of the moon for the past half century you know that ingesting mercury is extremely hazardous.

For developing fetuses, along with children of all ages, the most significant adverse health effect of mercury is that it has been proven to impair many forms of normal neurological development. When a baby is exposed to mercury in the womb it can seriously deleteriously affect memory, cognitive thinking, language, attention, and both visual spatial and motor skills.

Now this presents a serious question for pregnant women. Would you rather expose your baby to mercury, or H1N1 swine flu? That is a decision that every mom to be needs to make once they have all the information. There is no doubt that the effects of the mercury in the thimerosal have been shown in the medical literature to be minimal if any. And the effects of H1N1 on pregnant women can be life threatening. The disease has already killed upwards of 6,000 Americans and although this second wave of influenza is clearly starting to fade, it's not over yet.

Personally (and I'm only speaking for myself) if I had to have the choice between and adjuvanted and an unadjuvanted vaccine I'd take the adjuvanted every time. Fewer viral particles floating around my bloodstream, and a better response to an ever-mutating virus. But the best choice (again for me and for me alone) is that I am not getting anywhere near any of the current crop of H1N1 swine flu vaccines. Thanks, but no thanks. I'll take my 1 in 50,000 chance of dying by the influenza virus rather than hazard some rushed-to-market mercury-laden concoction.


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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      healthwriter: You're welcome

      julei: What am I the lightning rod for every snake oil purveyor on the web? Silver oxygenated water has not one shred of clinical evidence that it does anything other than rip off the poor stupid people who are suckered into buying it on sites as outright misleading(if not legally criminal) as yours. Take that idiocy down before the FTC and FCC ream you out, fool!

      Sheesh... how stupid do people get? There's a scam behind every URL... dang it! Gets me steamed!:(

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is all true! you dont need the vaccine, i refuse to take it, so spread the word about this stuff!

      This is what I use to keep myself healthy, and it really is remarkable! It actually builds your immune system. Im taking it, and my entire family and we are healthy. It's proven to stop against dangerous stuff like swine flu, and I have no intention of getting a vaccine! Im trying to spread the word and give people another option to stop illnesses.

    • healthwriter profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      thanks for the info...

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks! None for me either! :)

    • jiberish profile image


      9 years ago from florida

      No shots for me thanks. Good Job on this Hub!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      ethel smith: Since you've read my Obama is a Commie Hubs, I'm sure you know that's my favorite approach! :)

      jim: Hey uggs, how ya doin' dude? Nice to meet your wife, J.! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Your words are so good.My pleasure to introduce uggs to you.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I have decided to take a conservative approach.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Me too my friend. I'll take my chances with a real virus before having a lab-jiggled virus introduced into my bloodstream. I would definitely change my mind if H1N1 mortality rates were to increase significantly, but right now, 1 out of 50,000 is good enough for me.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'd almost rather get the flu than take a gov't vaccination for anything!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Kika, you've actually had H1N1? Glad to hear it wasn't too serious for you. The vast majority of cases are very similar to yours, nothing more than a bad flu. What you have to watch out for is a severe cytokine storm in which cases some people (albeit relatively few statistically) are perfectly fine one day and dead the next. The H1N1 virus is pandemic in its spread alright, but its severity has been far less than many people predicted by the time of the second wave which we're in right now. Let's hope it stays this way!

      camlo: Thanks! Yes, thimerosal-free Celvapan is being administered to the German government officials and the armed forces. Everyone else can just get mercury in their bloodstreams as far as Berlin is concerned! And since thimerosal is 49.6% mercury, that's not just a molecule or two.

    • camlo profile image

      Camlo De Ville 

      9 years ago from Cologne, Germany

      This is an interesting Hub.

      Here in Germany, the general public can only receive the vaccine containing mercury, politicians and other 'important' people receive the one without. This is, of course, quite an issue here.

      Thanks for the information!

      All the best,


    • Kika Rose profile image

      Kika Rose 

      9 years ago from Minnesota

      I caught the H1N1 flu thing like, a few days before Halloween. Worst Halloween I've ever had. My work wouldn't let me go to work, I had no money, and I ended up losing my job anyway because my line was moving to Costa Rica and I wasn't picked for the slimmed down shift. It was a nasty flu, I won't lie. But it's not that big of a deal. The only real dangers I can see come from vomiting/diarrhea, and that's dehydration. But dehydration's not hard to take care of for an able-bodied person, just drink more water. Other than that, the hype it's getting here is just pathetic.

      You shoulda seen what they were saying in the news here in MN, Hal. They were claiming over half of the state had the H1N1 flu. I dunno if that was really true or not, though.

      (Also, I never get a flu shot; I'd rather take my chances getting the flu on my own than be given it via stick.)


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