The Pros & Cons Surrounding Vaccine Safety
We are a nation obsessed with knowing the ingredients in our food. There have been protests by consumer groups demanding better nutritional labeling that lists the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for each and every serving. For the health conscious individual, we are even more astute. As we shop through the grocery store and hold packages of food in our hands, we gaze at the ingredients just to make sure they pass our inspection. I have done this time-and-time again and continue to witness this scene among other health conscious shoppers in the supermarkets.
We want to KNOW if our food and health supplements contain sugar, gluten, dairy, artificial colors, artificial flavors, GMO’s, soy, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives. Why then, have the majority of us never asked about the ingredients in our vaccines?
A Word or Two About My Stance
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition with a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration, but even I have never viewed the ingredient list of a vaccine before it was injected into my body. When I research a topic for a blog, especially one that is controversial, it is important that I become an objective investigator in order to assess both sides of the story. You are taking this journey with me because I began this research project with new eyes that were eager to discover more truth.
While performing my investigation, I have discovered that the vaccine narrative is not black and white, it is grey.
Are these statements true or false?
- All vaccines are safe
- All vaccines are unsafe
My position is that both of these statements are false. I have come to realize that vaccines have resulted in positive achievements along with unintended consequences. The purpose of this blog is to simply increase your awareness surrounding the vaccine story. This awareness will help you to understand the larger picture of the vaccine paradigm so that you can begin to educate yourself and make informed choices regarding your vaccinations.
The Good News About Vaccination
Many infectious diseases have been prevented by vaccines and some of them have even been eradicated. The efforts of the vaccine program have been proven over the years, and here are a few examples of its successful achievements.
- During the 1970s, the smallpox vaccine was eliminated from the vaccine schedule because of successful eradication efforts.
- Between 1988-2003, there was a 99% decline in polio.
- Between 1999-2003, we experienced a 40% decrease in measles worldwide.
- During the 1990s, Hepatitis B disease was virtually eliminated in children less than 18 years of age.
The noble intentions of the vaccine industry in trying to eradicate or minimize the spread of disease is noted and acknowledged. Their efforts have resulted in successes, but there have also been setbacks. Before we go into further details, let’s review some key points in vaccine history.
Key Points in the History of Vaccines
Late 1970s to mid-1980s – By this time in the U.S, several vaccine manufacturers were being sued due to children developing encephalopathy and motor dysfunction from the DTP (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine. For every dollar the vaccine companies were making on DTP, they were spending $20 in legal fees to cover the litigation costs. These vaccine companies went to Congress and threatened to stop making vaccines.
1986 – Congress passes The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (the Vaccine Act).
What did the Vaccine Act do?
- Made it illegal to sue and redress vaccine manufacturers for negligence or injuries related to vaccines.
- Denied parents the ability to seek documents on the safety of vaccines from the companies that produced them, unless permission is granted by the court. This is dramatically different from the typical products liability action in which the company must turn over all relevant documents.
- Allowed new vaccines into the vaccination schedule at a quicker rate because this Act did not require vaccine companies to conduct double-blind placebo studies which are the standard quality control procedures for safety testing.
1988 – The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) was established to provide compensation for individuals who experience adverse events, injury, or death related to a vaccination. The Vaccine Court has compensated more than $4 billion in claims to children who have been injured by vaccines.
2011 – CDC hailed vaccinations as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the first decade of the 21st century in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
2018 – Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) wins lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who failed to provide a single vaccine safety report to Congress for thirty years.
2020 – The CDC’s vaccine schedule mandates that approximately 50 doses of vaccines be given to a child by one year of age. In 1986, the average number of vaccine doses given to a child by one year of age was 11.
A Word About Vaccine Safety
Unlike medicines and pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines are not required to be safety tested against a placebo. You might be wondering why. The lack of required safety testing originates from the birth of the vaccine program itself.
The U.S. vaccine program was initially launched as a national security defense system to protect the U.S in case of a potential biological attack on our country. If we were attacked, Congress wanted to ensure that the U.S. could create and distribute a vaccine to a minimum of 200 million people without regulatory impediments. If Congress called it a medicine, the vaccine would need to submit to double-blind placebo safety testing which would take 2-5 years to complete. This was too long to wait, so it was decided to label vaccines as a biologic then exempt biologics from ‘biological’ safety testing.
Biological safety testing involves testing a product on a living organism (animal or human being) to ascertain its safety and impact on that organism. This differs from product safety testing which only involves the product being tested to ensure that it is free of adventitious agents (e.g. viruses or bacteria). Vaccines, as products, are required to undergo product testing to assess the safety of its ingredients. They are not required to undergo biological safety testing as outlined in the Vaccine Act of 1986.
In 2018, a legal case was won by ICAN who sued the HHS when the HHS could not provide the vaccine safety reports as required by the 1986 Vaccine Act. According to the Vaccine Act, a report must be submitted to Congress every two years certifying that the vaccine schedule is safe. To date, there should be 16 reports available to every American parent testifying to the safety of the childhood vaccination schedule, but there are zero.
“HHS was unable to show that a placebo safety test had been conducted for a single vaccine.” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
A double-blind placebo study means that the individuals getting the treatment and the researchers administering the treatment don’t know which group is getting the real treatment or placebo. The individuals and researchers are both “blind” making it a double-blind placebo study. To date, there have been no double-blind placebo tests conducted for any of the vaccines.
If you are interested in learning more about the Vaccine Act, I recommend you watch 1986 The Act, a feature film directed by Dr. Andy Wakefield. The story follows a couple who are having a baby while uncovering details about vaccination safety. They contemplate and discuss how this knowledge might impact their family.
Ingredients of Concern
There are many different kinds of vaccines available so I have decided to focus on the influenza vaccine since this biologic is given to the widest range of our population, from 6 months of age to over 65 years of age.
The first vaccine for influenza was developed in 1938 and given to U.S. soldiers during World War II. Today, there are trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccines. Trivalent consists of three inactivated influenza viruses while quadrivalent is designed to protect against four different influenza viruses: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
Aluminum is used in some vaccines as an adjuvant to help the body develop a stronger immune response after receiving the vaccination. It was first introduced in the 1930s with the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines. Today, aluminum can be found in hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria-tetanus-containing vaccines, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal, and certain flu vaccines. Most mainstream media sources will tell you that aluminum in vaccines is safe and harmless, but research indicates that this statement is not entirely true.
A research study documented in Brain, A Journal of Neurology, found that macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF) is a condition characterized by muscle pain that can be localized to the limbs or diffused throughout the body. Other symptoms include joint pain, muscle weakness/tenderness, and fatigue. Specifically, MMF consists of inflammatory microphage formations with aluminum-containing inclusions associated with deltoid muscle necrosis. The deltoid muscle in the upper arm is the preferred injection site of the influenza vaccine for adults 19 years of age and older.
In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, a critical analysis was performed on the top three reference studies commonly used to suggest that vaccine-derived aluminum is safe. The study concluded that, “given their serious conceptual and methodological weaknesses, the 3 available toxico-kinetic studies objectively constitute insufficient bases to guarantee the absolute safety of aluminum adjuvants administered at very large scale, in particular over the long term.”
Aluminum is intended to be administered to billions of individuals over the next several years via vaccinations. It has been suggested that new long-term studies be conducted in vivo (within living organisms) to ensure a maximum level of safety. ~ Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that is used in vaccines to prevent microbial growth in the event that the vaccine is contaminated, as might occur with repeated puncture of a multi-dose vial with a needle. Thimerosal was first added to childhood vaccines in the 1930s. In 1989, with the introduction of the Haemophilus influenza B (Hib) vaccine, exposure levels to mercury doubled in children who were given these vaccines.
Today, Thimerosal is used in one-third of flu vaccines. Single-dose vials of the flu vaccine do not contain thimerosal. However, for multi-dose vials, each 0.5 mL dose contains 25 mcg of mercury. Therefore, if your flu vaccine originated from a multi-dose vial, you received 25 mcg of mercury with each shot. It should be noted that multi-dose vaccines are cheaper to produce in larger quantities than single-dose vaccines.
The Neurotoxic Effect of Mercury
On the CDC website, it is stated that Thimerosal is cleared from the body quickly and easily. But research shows that Thimerosal is cleared from the blood relatively quickly, typically within a few weeks. However, the mercury from Thimerosal does not leave the body. It is eventually distributed to the brain because it trespasses the blood-brain barrier.
These findings on Thimerosal were confirmed in 2005 by Thomas Burbacher, PhD who conducted a study involving infant monkeys who were exposed to mercury via intramuscular injections of vaccines containing thimerosal. Burbacher concluded that the data from his study supports the prediction that, although little accumulation of mercury in the blood occurs over time with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of mercury in the brain will occur over time.
Burbacher’s research also revealed significant differences between methylmercury and ethylmercury metabolism. Methylmercury is the type of mercury found in tuna, whereas ethylmercury is used in vaccines. Regulators used methylmercury as a benchmark, rather than ethylmercury when evaluating the safety of Thimerosal.
Although little accumulation of mercury in the blood occurs over time with repeated vaccinations, accumulation of mercury in the brain will occur over time. ~ Thomas Burbacher, PhD
In another study documented in the Journal of Toxicology, researchers exposed human brain cells to ethylmercury and found mitochondrial toxicity, DNA damage, and DNA mutations to the cells. The researchers marked this finding as important because the number of human disease states involving mitochondrial dysfunction have been rapidly increasing over the years.
On a positive note, due to the safety hazards of Thimerosal, vaccines recommended for children less than 6 years of age were made available in thimerosal-free versions in the United States between 1999 and 2001. However, other countries still use multiple-dose vials containing Thimerosal to maintain their childhood immunization programs.
List of vaccine ingredients: 2-Phenoxyethanol, albumin, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum potassium sulfate, amino acids, ammonium sulfate, antibiotics, bovine components, bovine serum, chick embryo cell culture, culture, detergent, dextrose, enzymes, formaldehyde, gelatin, glutaraldehyde, human components, human embryonic cells, lactalbumin hydrolysate, medium 199, mineral salts, monosodium l-glutamate, phenol, phosphate, polymixin B sulfate, polysorbate-80, potassium aluminum sulfate, potassium chloride, potassium phosphate monobasic, sodium borate, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic, sorbitol, soy peptone, sucrose, thimerosal, vero (monkey kidney) cells, and yeast protein.
Source: CDC Database
The Moral Considerations of Vaccine Manufacturing
In this section, I am going to address an important topic. It involves the use of human fetal tissue in the manufacturing of certain vaccines. Dr. Theresa Deisher is the founder of Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, a biomedical research organization that focuses on the public health consequences of our vaccine manufacturing practices. Dr. Deisher obtained her PhD in molecular and cellular physiology from Stanford University and holds 23 patents to her name. She was recently interviewed by RFK Jr. and what follows is a summary of their discussion.
Why would we want to put human fetal tissue in vaccines? The fetal tissue is used as a substrate to grow the viruses that will be used in the vaccines, but the DNA from the fetal tissue has the ability to interact with our own. Some people (including children and babies) will produce antibodies against the foreign fetal DNA. This causes an autoimmune response in which the antibodies may potentially attack the host’s own body. This can happen immediately or years later.
Another danger is that of DNA insertion. The foreign fetal DNA fragments will insert themselves into the host’s blood stem cells, giving the fetal DNA a much better chance to survive and proliferate. The end result is that the foreign DNA could become the dominant stem cell making most of the host’s blood cells.
Empowered Actions You Can Take
- Ask for thimerosal-free and aluminum-free vaccines such as Flublok. This flu vaccine was formulated by Dr. Manon Cox, a board member of AVM Biotechnology. Flublok has no adjuvants. It is made on insect cells so there is no danger of retroviruses lingering in your body which may happen with vaccines made on animal cells.
- Ask for vaccines that are free of human fetal tissue. You can find a list of vaccines containing fetal tissue here as well as non-fetal alternatives. This list was obtained from the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute.
- Ask to see the package insert for the vaccines you are receiving. The package insert lists the warnings, precautions, adverse reactions, and vaccine ingredients.
- Aluminum and mercury are known to accumulate in brain tissue over time. It is recommended to get tested for heavy metal toxicity in your brain tissue if you are concerned about the neurotoxic effect of these metals.
- If you or someone in your family has been injured due to a vaccination, you may be compensated by filing a claim with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Throughout the years, the vaccination program has witnessed its share of achievements as well as its share of unforeseen setbacks. Similar to prescribed medication, vaccines can have benefits but they can also produce unwanted side effects. The intention of the vaccination program to eradicate the spread of disease is noteworthy. As with any scientific body of knowledge, there are ongoing efforts to improve the safety and efficacy of the vaccination program.
[DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be interpreted as medical advice. Please visit your healthcare provider for consultation regarding vaccination.]
Authored by Susan Kapatoes, founder of Inspire Your Journey.
- AVM Biotechnology – Develops cell therapy-enabling technologies for regenerative medicine.
- Children’s Health Defense – Provides resources to help the chronic disease epidemic in America’s children.
- National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program – Provides financial compensation for individuals who experience adverse events, injury, or death related to a vaccination.
- Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute – Conducts research studies about the manufacturing of our vaccines and the public health consequences of our vaccine manufacturing practices.
- Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T., 2005. Comparison of blood and brain mercury levels in infant monkeys exposed to methylmercury or vaccines containing thimerosal. Environ Health Perspect. 113(8):1015-1021. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.7712
- Cavaco Silva, J., 2018. Flu Shot Ingredients: What They Contain And Why. medicalnewstoday.com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321207
- Crépeaux G, Eidi H, David MO, Baba-Amer Y, Tzavara E, Giros B, Authier FJ, Exley C, Shaw CA, Cadusseau J, Gherardi RK. Non-linear dose-response of aluminium hydroxide adjuvant particles: Selective low dose neurotoxicity. Toxicology. 2017 Jan 15;375:48-57. Epub 2016 Nov 28. PMID: 27908630. DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2016.11.018
- Food and Drug Administration, 2015. Revocation Of General Safety Test Regulations That Are Duplicative Of Requirements In Biologics License Applications. Federal Register. federalregister.gov https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2015/07/02/2015-16366/revocation-of-general-safety-test-regulations-that-are-duplicative-of-requirements-in-biologics
- ICAN Vs. HHS: Key Legal Win Recasts Vaccine Debate, 2018. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ican-vs-hhs-key-legal-win-recasts-vaccine-debate-300712629.html
- Kennedy Jr., R.F. and Deisher, T., 2020. RFK, Jr. Discusses Aborted Fetal DNA and Vaccines with Dr. Theresa Deisher • Children’s Health Defense. https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/robert-f-kennedy-jr-q-a-with-dr-theresa-deisher
- Masson, J., Crépeaux, G., Authier, F., Exley, C. and Gherardi, R., 2017. Critical Analysis Of Reference Studies On The Toxiokinetics Of Aluminium-Based Adjuvants. DOI: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2017.12.015
- Mikovits, J. and Heckenlively, K., 2020. Plague Of Corruption: Restoring Faith In The Promise Of Science. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. https://www.amazon.com/Plague-Corruption-Restoring-Promise-Science/dp/1510752242
- National Vaccine Information Center, 2020. What is the History of Influenza Vaccine Use in America? https://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/influenza/vaccine-history.aspx
- K. Gherardi, M. Coquet, P. Cherin, L. Belec, P. Moretto, P. A. Dreyfus, J.-F. Pellissier, P. Chariot, F.-J. Authier, Macrophagic myofasciitis lesions assess long-term persistence of vaccine-derived aluminium hydroxide in muscle, Brain, Volume 124, Issue 9, September 2001, pages 1821–1831, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/124.9.1821
- Sharpe, M., Livingston, A. and Baskin, D., 2012. Thimerosal-Derived Ethylmercury Is a Mitochondrial Toxin in Human Astrocytes: Possible Role of Fenton Chemistry in the Oxidation and Breakage of mtDNA. Journal of Toxicology, Volume 2012, pp.1-12 https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/373678