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Delaware Health Alert Network #268

June 1, 2012 9:20 am

Health Alert

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has re-issued declarations allowing Delaware clinicians to use two vaccines containing mercury (thimerosal) as a preservative. The declarations are effective for 12 months.

Normally, Title 16 §510 of the Delaware Code bans the use of mercury containing vaccine for pregnant women and children younger than 8 years. However, the DPH Director may permit the use of mercury containing vaccines if there is shortage of a mercury-free formulation, or if a mercury-free formulation does not exist.

The re-issued declarations allow the use of mercury containing vaccine for pregnant women and children younger than 8 years of age for the following vaccines:

  • Tetanus / diphtheria (Td) vaccine. This is available only in a mercury containing preparations and is administered to individuals 7 years and older.
  • Diphtheria / Tetanus (DT) vaccine. This is available only in mercury containing preparations and is used to protect children younger than 7 years of age who are intolerant of the Pertussis (P) component of the mercury-free Diphtheria / Tetanus / Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine.

The law requires a provider administering a mercury containing vaccine to “inform the client, parent or legal guardian of the client that the vaccine contains mercury, that they believe the vaccine to be medically necessary, and that the Director of Public Health has made a formal determination that the vaccine may be administered due to the existence of the shortage of mercury-free vaccines.”

For more information, please contact DPH’s Immunization Program at 1-800-282-8672 or (302) 744-1060, or visit Program website at


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