Vaccine Education Center

Vaccine Ingredients

Some parents are concerned about the safety of ingredients found in vaccines, specifically aluminum, mercury, gelatin and antibiotics. However, parents can be reassured that ingredients in vaccines are minuscule and necessary. In this section, we address concerns related to the following vaccine ingredients:

CDC's Pink Book - vaccine ingredients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled the ingredient list for most vaccines into a table. While the table may be helpful for people concerned about particular allergies or ingredients, it is important to realize that the table does not indicate quantities in each vaccine. In most cases, the quantities are so minimal that they do not cause allergic reactions or dangerous levels of exposure. Further, many of these ingredients are commonly found in other products.

Download "Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary"»

Recent questions about vaccine ingredients

“My daughter has a corn allergy, do I need to worry about her getting vaccines?”

“I heard the rise in peanut allergies is because peanut oils are used in vaccines. Is this true?”


Both of these questions are related to the notion that oils in vaccines can cause allergic reactions in those who have food sensitivities. Indeed, if someone has a sensitivity to a vaccine component, they may be advised not to get it; however, vaccines do not contain either corn or peanut oils. Oils would typically be introduced in oil-in-water emulsions for use as adjuvants. Only a few of these are approved for use in Europe; however, the approved versions contain squalene which is taken from fish oil, specifically shark liver oil. Squalene is also made in our livers and is found in our bloodstreams. In the United States, oil-in-water adjuvants are not currently approved for use.

Resources

“Squalene-based adjuvants in vaccines” — World Health Organization 

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