At Vax Maine Kids, we know some of the ingredients in vaccines for children can sound pretty scary. Reading up on the list of ingredients in vaccines is good parenting, just like reading food labels in the grocery store. And like with food labels, it is important to know not just what an ingredient is, but what it does and why it is there in the first place.
Maine parents should know that ingredients in vaccines that might sound confusing or concerning are used in very small amounts for very important reasons, like keeping vaccines safe and effective.
In fact, Maine children take in more of these ingredients in the course of their daily lives (through things like breast milk and medicines) than they do by receiving all the recommended vaccines combined. Every single ingredient on this list has been more thoroughly tested for safety and purity than anything you might buy your children in the grocery store.
- Aluminum is used in vaccines as an adjuvant (a way to get children’s bodies to respond better to the vaccine), and to keep doses low.
- Antibiotics keep unwanted bacteria from growing while vaccines are made and stored.
- Formaldehyde keeps bad bacteria from growing in vaccines and keeps out other germs that might pollute them.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-phenoxy-ethanol stabilize vaccines against changes in heat, light, acidity or humidity.
Maine parents should know that while the mercury in the preservative Thimerosal has never been shown to harm children or cause autism, it is never used in children’s vaccines – except for multidose vials of flu vaccine, which are rarely used by children’s doctors. If you are still worried, you can ask your child’s doctor or nurse to make sure your child gets a thimerosal-free dose.