NVIC Vaccine News

Are Vaccine Ingredients Safe?

By Barbara Loe Fisher
Published January 26, 2018 in Science


To activate and view hyperlinked references, please click once and then click any superscripted number below to access a hyperlinked reference, or scroll down to the bottom of the article to view all hyperlinked references.

There is an old saying that you are what you eat. Today, many more people understand the importance of reading food ingredient labels. We check for chemicals, trans fat and sugar content, whether or not the food has been genetically modified, and how full of vitamins and nutrients the food is before we buy it. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

And yet, when we go to the doctor, how many times do we check the ingredients in the vaccines a doctor recommends? 10 11

By federal law, drug companies selling vaccines in the U.S. must publish information about vaccine ingredients in the manufacturer package insert that comes with vials of vaccines shipped to doctors’ offices, public health clinics and pharmacies. 12

The Centers for Disease Control also publishes a list of vaccine ingredients. 13 Here are some of the ingredients that may be in the vaccines your doctor recommends:

Even though these ingredients in vaccines may be in small amounts, not every ingredient has been adequately tested for negative effects on the brain and immune system. 79 80 81 82 And because every person is unique, with a different genetic 83 and epigenetic heritage, 84 a different microbiome, 85 86 and a different health history, not every person reacts the same way to vaccine ingredients. 87 88

Before you take a risk, find out what it is. It’s your health, your family, your choice.


1 Sherpa C. Top 15 Chemical Additives in Your Food. MedicalXpress Jan. 19, 2010.

2 Mercola.J. What Chemical Cocktail Is in Your Food? Mercola Newsletter Feb. 24, 2016.

3 Mayo Clinic Staff. Trans Fat Is Double Trouble for Your Heart Health. Mayo Clinic Mar. 1, 2017.

4 Kirkpatrick K. 10 Things You Don’t Know About Sugar (And What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You). Huffington Post Sept. 19, 2013.

5 Dona A, Arvanitoyannis IS. Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2009; 49(2).

6 Kaldvear Z. Five Ways the FDA Has Failed Consumers on Genetically Engineered Foods. Organic Consumers Association.

7 Mercola J. Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe. Mercola Newsletter Aug. 6, 2013.

8 USDA. What’s in Food: Vitamins and Minerals. Jan. 24, 2018.

9 FDA. Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. Nov. 11, 2017.

10 Dreskin SC, Halsey NA et al. International Consensus: Allergic Reactions to Vaccines. World Allergy Organization Journal 2016; 9:32.

11 Nagao M, Fujisawa T et al. Highly increased levels of IgE antibodies to vaccine components in children with influenza vaccine associated anaphylaxis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2016; 137(3): 861-867.

12 FDA. Vaccines Licensed for Use in the United States. Jan. 5, 2018.

13 CDC. Vaccine Excipients & Media Summary: Excipients Included in U.S. Vaccines, by Vaccine. Jan 6, 2017.

14 Fisher BL. The Emerging Risks of Live Virus & Virus Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine Strain Infection, Shedding & Transmission. National Vaccine Information Center November 2014.

15 Van den Biggelaar AHJ, Poolman JT. Live-Attenuated and Inactivated Whole-Cell Bacterial Vaccines. In: Vaccine Analysis, Strategies, Principles and Control. (pp. 139-186). Nov. 28, 2014 (online).

16 Shaw CA, Tomlejenovic L. Aluminum in the central nervous system (CNS): toxicity in humans and animals, vaccine adjuvants, and autoimmunity. Immunol Res. 2013; 56;(2-3):304-16.

17 Immunity Education Group. Is Your Baby Getting too Much Aluminum? The Vaccine Reaction Dec. 9, 2016.

18 FDA. Common Ingredients in US Licensed Vaccines: Why is aluminum in some vaccines? Jan. 8, 2018.

19 Burbacher TM, Shen DD et al. Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing ThimerosalNational Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine Apr. 21, 2005.

20 Marques RC, Dorea JG et al. Hair mercury in breast-fed infants exposed to thimerosal-preserved vaccinesEur J Pediatr 2007.

21 FDA. Thimerosal and Vaccines. Jan. 5, 2018.

22 Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. Public Health Statement for Formaldehyde. ATSDR September 2008.

23 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). New Substances Added to HHS Report on Carcinogens. June 10, 2011.

24 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: Formaldehyde. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

25 FDA. Common Ingredients in US Licensed Vaccines. Why is formaldehyde in some vaccines? Jan. 8, 2018.

26 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: 2-Phenoxyethanol. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

27 Parpia R. Toxic Phenol Ingredient in Vaccines. The Vaccine Reaction Apr. 4, 2016.

28 Geier D, Jordan S, Geier M. The Relative Toxicity of Compounds Used As Preservatives in Vaccines and BiologicsMedical Science Monitor 2010; 16(5): SR21-27.

29 Environmental Protection Agency. Phenol. EPA January 2000.

30 Material Safety Data Sheet. Sodium BorateScienceLab.com May 21, 2013.

31 Parpia R. The Puzzling Presence of Borax in Our Vaccines. The Vaccine Reaction Feb. 5, 2016.

32 CDC. Sodium Borate. NIOSH July 22, 2015.

33 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: Tween 80. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

34 Parpia R. Polysorbate 80: A Risky Vaccine Ingredient. The Vaccine Reaction Jan. 7, 2016.

35 Gajdova M, Jakubovsky J, Valky J. Delayed effects of neonatal exposure to Tween 80 on female reproductive organs in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 1993; 31(3): 183-190.

36 Healy M. Is Common Food Additive to Blame for Rising Rates of Bowel Disease? Los Angeles Times Feb. 25, 2015.

37 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: Triton X-100 (octylphenol ethoxylate). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

38 Schrader SM, Platek SF et al. Sperm Viability: A Comparison of Analytical Methods. Andrologica 1986; 18(5): 530-538.

39 Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Pollutant Fact Sheet: Octylphenol ethoxylate (Triton A-100).

40 Caceres M. Mystery of the Diminishing Sperm Counts. The Vaccine Reaction Dec. 18, 2018.

41 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: Hydrocortisone. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

42 LabChem, Inc. Material Safety Data Sheet: Dextrose. Oct. 5, 2007.

43 RX.com. Dextrose (Glucose). May 15, 2017.

44 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: Sucrose (saccharose, cane sugar, table sugar). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

45 Rinaldi M, Perricone R et al. Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae autoantibodies in autoimmune diseases: from bread baking to autoimmunity. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol 2013; 45(20): 152-161.

46 DiMiceli L, Pool V et al. Vaccination of yeast sensitive individuals: review of safety data in the US vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS). Vaccine 2006; 2(6): 703-707.

47 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Milk and Dairy Allergy.

48 Wal JM. Bovine milk allergenicity. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2004; 93(5) Supplement 3: S2-S11.

49 Steinman L, Weiss A et al. Murine model for pertussis vaccine encephalopathy: Role of the major histocompatibility complex; antibody to albumin and to Bordetella pertussis and pertussis toxin. Developments in Biological Standardization 1985; 61: 439-446.

50 Rangel AHDH, Sales DC et al. Lactose intolerance and cow’s milk protein allergy. Food Science and Technology Jan. 19, 2016 (online).

51 DeSilva R, Dasanayake WMDK et al. Sensitization to bovine serum albumin as a possible cause of allergic reactions to vaccines. Vaccine 2017; 35(11): 1494-1500.

52 Li JT, Rank MA et al. Ovalbumin content of influenza vaccines. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010; 125(6): 1412-1413.

53 Zhao L, Seth A et al. Nanoparticle vaccines. Vaccine 2014; 32: 327-337.

54 Naskalaska M, Pyrc K. Virus Like Particles as Immunogens and Universal Nanocarriers. Polish Journal of Microbiology 2015; 64(1): 3-13.

55 U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Assessing the Environmental, Health and Safety Impact of Nanoparticles. National Institute of Standards and Technology July 13, 2017.

56 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: MSG (monosodium glutamate). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

57 Xiong J, Branigan D, Li M. Deciphering the MSG ControversyInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine 2009; 2: 329 -333.

58 Appaiah KM. Chapter 3 – Monosodium Glutamate in Foods and Its Biological Effects.  In: Ensuring Global Food Safety (pp.217-220). Jan. 29, 2010 (online).

59 Pool V, Braun MM et al. Prevalence of anti-gelation IGE antibodies in people with anaphylaxis after measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in the United States. Pediatrics 2002; 110(6): e71.

60 Parpia R. Gelatin in Vaccines Can Cause Allergic Reactions. The Vaccine Reaction May 31, 2017.

61 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Open Chemistry Database: Squalene. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

62 Kuroda Y, Nacionales DC et al. Autoimmunity induced by adjuvant hydrocarbon oil components of vaccine. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 2004; 58(5): 325-0337.

63 Ruiz JT, Lujan L et al. Adjuvants – and vaccines-induced autoimmunity: animal models. Immunologic Research 2017; 65(1): 55-65.

64 FDA. Common Ingredients in US Licensed Vaccines: Why are antibiotics in some vaccines? Jan. 8, 2018.

65 Drugs.com Polymixin B Side Effects.

66 Drugs.com Streptomycin Side Effects.

67 Drugs.com Neomycin Side Effects.  

68 Innovative Research. Cell Culture and Uses for Fetal Bovine Serum. July 22, 2014.

69 FDA. Bovine Derived Materials Used in Vaccine Manufacturing: Questions and Answers. Aug. 15, 2013.

70 College of Physicians of Philadelphia. History of Vaccines: Human Cell Strains in Vaccine Development. Jan. 10, 2018.

71 Deisher TA, Doan NV et al. Epidemiologic and Molecular Relationship Between Vaccine Manufacture and Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence. Issues in Law & Medicine 2015; 30(1): 47-70.

72 Calderon RJL. Vaccines, biotechnology and their connection with induced abortion. Cuad Bioet 2008; 19(66): 321-353.

73 Fisher BL. Use of Insect Cells for Influenza Vaccine Production. NVIC Public Comment: FDA Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Nov. 29, 2009.

74 Pastoret PP. Human and Animal Vaccine Contaminants. Biologicals 2010; 38(3): 332-334.

75 FDA. Guidance for Industry: Characterization and Qualification of Cell Substrates and other Biological Material used in the Production of Viral Vaccines for Infectious Diseases. FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research (CBER) February 2010.

76 FDA. Information on Gardasil – Presence of DNA Fragments Expected, No Safety Risk. Oct. 21, 2011.

77 Fisher BL. The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Virus Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine Strain Infection, Shedding and Transmission. National Vaccine Information Center November 2014.

78 Petricciani J, Sheets R. Adventitious agents in viral vaccines: Lessons learned for 4 case studies. Biologicals 2014; 42(5): 223-236.

79 National Vaccine Information Center. Merck’s Gardasil Vaccine Not Proven Safe for Little Girls. NVIC Press Release: June 27, 2006.

80 Miller NZ, Goldman GS. Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity? Hum Exp Toxoicol 2011; 30(9): 1420-1428.

81 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. Summary: Health Outcomes (p. 5-6) and Conclusions About Scientific Findings (p. 11) and Review of Scientific Findings (p. 75-98). The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies; Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 2013.

82 National Vaccine Information Center. NVIC Calls 21st Century Cures Act ”A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” and Urges Presidential Veto to Protect Public Health. NVIC Press Release: Dec. 8, 2016.

83 Cariquist JF. Pharmacogenetic Mechanisms Underlying Unanticipated Drug Responses. Discov Med 2011; 11(60: 469-478.

84 Baqureo F. Epigenetics, epistasis and epidemics. Evolution, Medicine and Public Health 2013; 1: 86-88.

85 The Human Microbiome Project Consortium. Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome. Nature 2012; 486: 207-214.

86 Wiliams SCP. The Other Microbiome. PNAS Early Edition Feb. 5, 2013.

87 Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events: Increased SusceptibilityChapter 3 (p. 82). Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality; Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.

88 DHHS. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: Vaccine Injury Compensation Data. HRSA January 2018.

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6 Responses to "Are Vaccine Ingredients Safe?"
Commenter Name
Sandy Lunoe
Posted: 2/1/2018 1:03:10 PM
Are vaccine ingredients safe? The lay public think of a "safe" vaccine as one which does not cause harm. Vaccine promoters define "safe" in connection with statements that "the benefits outweigh potential harm". Such statements have been shown to be based on manipulated statistics. We are advised to investigate vaccine ingredients, and rightly so. However, the exact composition of vaccines cannot and will not be disclosed even to doctors under exemptions that protect business information with the Access to Information Act in Canada and the Freedom of Information Act in the US. Similarly, trade secrets are also exempt under the British Freedom of Information Act. Doctors and others promote vaccines without knowing their composition.
Commenter Name
E. Maria Villa
Posted: 2/4/2018 1:38:03 PM
About 13yrs. ago where I worked was talked into getting the flu shot. I was very sick for about three weeks! Since then I haven't had a flu shot and refuse to get one since I do fine without it!
Commenter Name
Joy Despy
Posted: 2/4/2018 9:20:14 PM
Vaccinations are obviously full of poisons - people should take the trouble to use their computers to identify what they intend to have put in their bodies before receiving what could be a lethal dose. Brain damage is at the top of the list!! Plus vaccines don't even prevent illnesses they are supposed to prevent!!!
Commenter Name
Mike S.
Posted: 2/11/2018 7:38:00 AM
I understand that the agency director of the CDC just resigned because it was discovered she owned stock in tobacco and pharmaceutical companies. It has also come to my attention that the CDC owns several vaccine patents. These are both enormous conflicts of interests where individuals at the CDC benefit directly from vaccine sales. Furthermore, the CDC refuses to conduct a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study on kids in this country. Is there really any wonder why? Considering these facts alone, the CDC cannot and should not be allowed to govern or oversee the state of public health in this country. Their disservice to the kids in this country cannot be overstated. Our Congress needs to put a stop to this now otherwise they are in compliance with it and should be held just as accountable. The CDC needs to be shut down immediately until a much better system can be put in place that ethically measures and reports safety and efficacy of vaccines. Our children deserve this much at least.
Commenter Name
Paula Peterson
Posted: 7/3/2020 9:21:21 AM
Hi. Excellent information. Thank you! Puzzled, though, about not finding any reference on the CDC site to fetal cells or human DNA being used to make vaccinations. Are these no longer being used in vaccines or did the CDC remove this information to prevent public scrutiny? I'm also looking at the age of the above comments: 2 years old ... hmmmmm. So, I'm not sure if I will get a response to my comment. Would greatly appreciate an answer, though. Thanks. Editors note: Yes, Paula they are still used in the manufacture of some vaccines but not all. Here is a more recent article you may find useful: https://thevaccinereaction.org/2018/01/new-human-fetal-cell-line-available-for-vaccine-production/
Commenter Name
Jackie Prasek
Posted: 9/14/2021 8:14:54 AM
I asked specifically for the ingredients in a covid vaccine but none were given. Instead I got a list of general items that COULD be in ANY vaccine. Where can i find this info?
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