Vaccine Myths

Myth 3: Vaccines contain toxic chemicals

Aluminium salts are commonly added to improve the immune response to the vaccine. Aluminium occurs naturally in breast milk, formula milk, some foods and drinking water. The total amount of infant exposure through food and vaccination is well within the recommended safe levels.

Thiomersal is a vaccine preservative containing a form of mercury that is easily excreted from the body (unlike methyl mercury found in tuna fish). The concerns about its toxicity are only theoretical and have not been scientifically proven. Thiomersal is not found in the childhood vaccines routinely used in the UK.

Formaldehyde is used in vaccine production to inactivate toxins from bacteria and viruses. A pear contains around 50 times more formaldehyde than is found in any vaccine.

Unlike most drugs, the vaccine patient information leaflets list every ingredient used in the vaccine production, including trace substances, so that anyone with a severe allergy to any of these substances is consulted prior to vaccination.