Vaccine Ingredients – Corn and Peanut Oils

“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. One such preparation, squalene, is approved for use as an adjuvant in the U.S. It is included in Fluad®, an influenza vaccine for adults 65 and older. Squalene is taken from fish oil, specifically shark liver oil. Squalene is also made in our livers and is found in our bloodstreams as part of cholesterol synthesis.


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

Reviewed by Paul A. Offit, MD on April 28, 2020

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.