Vaccine ingredients are not easy to understand. In this section, we explain some of the major misunderstandings related to vaccine ingredients.
1. What do vaccines contain?
Vaccine ingredients differ depending on the type of vaccine and how it was made. It is required by law that the ingredients of vaccines are listed on each vaccine’s product information leaflet.
However, vaccine ingredients lists are very comprehensive as it will not only list ingredients (substances in the vaccine), but also substances used during the manufacturing process which are removed from the final product and present in only tiny amounts.
The important thing to understand is that vaccines do not contain ingredients that will harm the body. Each ingredient used in a vaccine plays a necessary role in the making of the vaccine, and also to ensure that the final product is safe and effective. Every batch of vaccine is also tested rigorously for safety.
2. Is it true that vaccine ingredients include mercury?
Mercury may be used in the production of vaccines, in the form of an organic compound called Thimerosal. Thimerosal is important because it stops the growth of unwanted bacteria. This organic compound is derived from ethyl mercury, which is easily removed from the body.
Furthermore, Thimerosal is present only in trace amounts in vaccines – you actually ingest more mercury from food on a daily basis. The mercury that causes harm is methyl mercury, which is the environmental toxin that can accumulate in your body and cause harm.
3. Is it true that vaccine ingredients include formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is used in vaccines during the manufacturing process to stop the growth of unwanted bacteria in toxoid vaccines, or to deactivate certain viruses in the vaccine so that they cannot cause the disease.
However, most of it is removed from the vaccine before the vaccine is packaged. In fact, our body makes and needs formaldehyde as it is one of the basic building blocks of protein required by our body.
4. Is it true that vaccine ingredients include aluminium?
Aluminium is used in vaccines to create a better immune response. This means we can use less amounts of bacteria or bacterial components in the vaccine to create immunity.
The amount of aluminium in vaccines is very small. In fact, an infant may receive more aluminium through their milk (no matter breast-fed or formula) than through vaccines. Aluminium is actually also present in the air and in our food and water.
5. Is it true that vaccine ingredients include antibiotics?
Antibiotics are used in vaccines to prevent bacteria growth during the production and storage of vaccines.
6. Is it true that vaccine ingredients include egg protein?
Egg protein is used in influenza and yellow fever vaccines. This is because they are produced using chicken eggs. Those who are allergic to eggs are cautioned to seek their doctor’s advice before taking these vaccines.
7. Is it true that vaccine ingredients include monosodium glutamate (MSG)?
MSG is used in vaccines to help the vaccine remain unchanged when exposed to heat, light, acidity or humidity.
8. Is it true that vaccine ingredients include embryo cells?
Some vaccines may contain viruses cultured and grown on cell lines obtained from embryo cells. However, they are only used during the manufacturing process and are not part of the vaccine itself.