Category: Vaccine Ingredients

Fetal Bovine Serum in Vaccines

Are you worried about fetal bovine serum in vaccines?

Are you wondering why they put fetal bovine serum in vaccines?

Well, it is not really added to the vaccine, like a preservative.

Instead, the CDC explains why fetal bovine serum may be in some vaccines:

In the manufacture of viral vaccines, the virus may be grown in cells.  These cells need a source of nutrition, which in some instances may be provided by fetal bovine serum.

So fetal bovine serum is used as a growth media. And it is eventually removed.

There is no risk that using these materials from cows could cause mad-cow disease.

For more information:

Latex Allergies and Vaccines

Can you get vaccines if you have a latex allergy?

“Dry, natural rubber is used in the tip of syringe plungers, the tip on prefilled syringes, vial stoppers,” and could cause a problem for some people with latex allergies.

According to the CDC:

If a person reports a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to latex, vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain natural rubber latex should not be administered unless the benefit of vaccination clearly outweighs the risk for a potential allergic reaction. In these cases, providers should be prepared to treat patients who are having an allergic reaction.

For latex allergies other than anaphylactic allergies (e.g., a history of contact allergy to latex gloves), vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain dry, natural rubber or natural rubber latex may be administered.

Many vaccines use synthetic rubber or synthetic latex though, so getting vaccinated with one of these vaccines would be a good alternative if your child has a severe allergy to latex.

Keep in mind that you aren’t supposed to simply remove the latex stopper from a vaccine vial to try and avoid triggering an anaphylactic reaction. That did work for one patient in the case report “Anaphylaxis after hepatitis B vaccination.” She got her second dose using “rubber free technique” and didn’t have a reaction.

Still, latex allergies with vaccines doesn’t seem to be a big problem.

One study “Vaccination of persons allergic to latex: a review of safety data in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),” in the journal Vaccine “revealed only 28 cases of possible immediate-type hypersensitivity reactions in vaccine recipients with a history of allergy to latex.” And only two of those required hospitalization.

For more information:

Vaccines with Diluents

Many vaccines come in prefilled syringes or ready to use multi-dose vials.

Others are freeze dried and need to reconstituted or mixed with a specific diluent, such as sterile water.

Those that use a diluent include:

  • MMR II
  • ProQuad
  • Varivax (chickenpox)
  • Zostavax (shingles)
  • ActHib and TriHIBit (Hib)
  • Hiberix
  • Menveo and Menomune (Meningococcal)
  • Pentacel
  • Rotarix
  • Imovax and RabAvert (rabies)
  • YF-VAX (yellow fever)

In addition to sterile water, vaccine diluents can include sodium chloride, distilled water, and vaccine antigens.

The use of diluents can lead to errors when administering vaccines, from using the wrong diluent, using a drug instead of a diluent, to giving a diluent instead of a vaccine.

That’s what happened when 15 children in Syria died after being vaccinated with MMR. The drug Atracurium was used instead of the diluent for the MMR vaccine.

And that’s why people who give vaccines are taught to “Check the vial label three times to be sure you have chosen the correct vaccine product (and diluent, when applicable). Check the expiration date of the vaccine (and diluent) before using to be sure they are not out of date.”

For more information:

Neomycin in Vaccines

Some vaccines do contain very small amounts of antibiotics “to prevent the growth of germs (bacteria) during production and storage of the vaccine.”

These antibiotics can include neomycin, gentamycin, polymyxin B, or streptomycin.

Although allergies to antibiotics are not rare, the presence of antibiotics in some antibiotics has never been found to cause severe allergic reactions in kids who get vaccinated.

And in many cases, the antibiotics are actually removed from the final vaccine or only remains in residual amounts.

For more information:

Yeast in Vaccines

Yeast in vaccines?

Yes, a few vaccines may contain trace amounts of yeast proteins.

Why?

Those vaccines are actually made in baker’s yeast (the growth medium), kind of like other vaccines are grown in cell cultures, etc. And although most of the yeast proteins are removed as the vaccine antigens are removed and purified, some residual yeast proteins remain in the vaccine.

For more information:

Stabilizers in Vaccines

Some vaccines contain stabilizers “to help the vaccine remain unchanged when the vaccine is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity.”

These stabilizers might include monosodium glutamate (MSG), glycine, gelatin, 2-phenoxy-ethanol, lactose, sucrose, or human or bovine serum albumin.

None of stabilizers are toxic or dangerous.

They include amino acids, sugars, and proteins.

For more information:

MSG and Vaccines

Yes, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the additive in Chinese food that some people try to avoid. It is also found naturally in many foods, especially tomatoes, or can be made by fermenting different starches and sugars.

So why is it also found in some of our vaccines?

According to the CDC, MSG is used as a stabilizer “in a few vaccines to help the vaccine remain unchanged when the vaccine is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity.”

MSG is safe in our vaccines and its presence should not be used to scare you away from vaccinating and protecting your kids.

For more information: