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Before we discuss vaccine ingredients, let’s look at how vaccines are categorized. This will help when you are trying to research ingredients for a specific vaccine.
Need help finding a trade name? Here is a list of all vaccines licensed for use in the United States.
Still not sure which vaccine you need to research? If you are a parent researching vaccines recommended for your children, we will go over the CDC schedule in a later lesson. If you are a patient, call your healthcare provider’s office and ask which vaccine trade name they administer. For example, if I was researching the flu vaccine, I’d call my doctor’s office and ask which flu vaccine they administer. Confirm correct spelling + then research that vaccine. Too many times parents and patients have researched a specific vaccine only to be given a different one when they show up to their appointment.
Once you have the correct trade name, find the insert (discussed in earlier lessons). Be sure to read the full insert, however if you are specifically looking for vaccine ingredients go to the “Description” section (typically Section 11). The manufacturer will detail all ingredients that have been used in the creation and preservation of its product.
According to the CDC, vaccine ingredients fall into the following categories:
In addition to reading the Description section on the manufacturer insert, the CDC has created a vaccine excipient table for easy reference:
Another helpful resource is the Institute of Vaccine Safety’s Excipients in Vaccines per 0.5 ml dose table. On this webpage, you can download print versions of the excipients table sorted by vaccine name, vaccine type, or excipient. Below is an example of all residual DNA found in vaccines post-manufacturing:
Other than allergies, why might someone want to know the ingredients in vaccines?
Moral objections: For those that are vegan for moral reasons, accepting a product that used animals for testing + manufacturing would violate their moral obligation to only use products free of animal cruelty. Vegans might oppose the use of gelatin (derived from pigs), eggs/chick embryos, lactose (derived from milk whey), and animal cells (african green monkey, mouse serum protein, fetal bovine serum, canine kidney cells, and shark liver oil).
This is the same for those that object to products tested + manufactured with human DNA. For example, the previous graph states that there are residual MRC-5 cells in the Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine as well as the MMRV vaccine. The MRC-5 cell line was derived from the human lung tissue of a 14-week-old aborted fetus. Here are the other vaccines that use MRC-5:
Religious objections: Those that adhere to Kosher and Halal religious dietary restrictions may object to certain ingredients used in vaccines.
Non-toxic lifestyles: For individuals that strive to limit toxic exposure, they will want to know which vaccines are known to have thimerosal, polysorbate 80, polyethylene glycol, formaldehyde, or aluminum.
Ready to discuss liability? Head to the next lesson!