Why do vaccines contain monkey kidney tissue?
Well, they don’t.
You do find monkey kidney cells on the ingredients list of some vaccines, notably the inactivated polio vaccine (Vero cell line), but that certainly isn’t the same as monkey kidney tissue.
Still, why do they use monkey kidney cells?
The virus or bacteria in a vaccine has to be grown in something. That something is typically a cell culture – cells growing in a culture dish.
The virus or bacteria that you grow – the antigen – is then released from these cells and purified. Other ingredients are then added, such as an adjuvant, stabilizer, or preservative, but the original cells from the cell culture aren’t in the final vaccine that your child is given.
So while monkey kidney cells might be on the ingredients list of a vaccine because they were used to make the vaccine, they aren’t actually in the final vaccine product.
Other vaccines that use cell culture technology include those for rotavirus, smallpox, hepatitis, rubella, chickenpox, and one brand of flu shots (Flucelvax).
For more information:
- Early Tissue and Cell Culture in Vaccine Development
- How Vaccines Are Made
- A zombie meme rises from the grave: Maurice Hilleman, the polio vaccine, SV40, and cancer