Vaccine Ingredients - DNA

Some people wonder whether the vaccines made using human embryo cells (chickenpox, rubella, hepatitis Ashingles and one version of the rabies vaccine) could cause harm if the DNA from the embryo cells “mixes” with the vaccine recipient’s DNA. This is not likely to happen:

  • Stability of DNA - Because DNA is not stable when exposed to certain chemicals, much of it is destroyed in the process of making the vaccine. Therefore, the amount of human DNA in the final vaccine preparation is minimal (trillionths of a gram) and highly fragmented. Because the DNA is fragmented, it cannot possibly create a whole protein.
  • Opportunity – DNA from the vaccine is not able to incorporate itself into cellular DNA. In fact, if this could be accomplished, gene therapy would be much easier than it has been.

Read more about the use of human embryo cells.

Reviewed by Paul A. Offit, MD on November 05, 2014

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.