Can Vaccines Be Harmful to Your Health?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

Cartoon illustrating the irony of vaccinations

Recently, there has been a great deal of controversy centered around vaccinations. Even this blog has been discussing this hot-button issue for awhile. There has been a great deal of information and misinformation concerning supposed health-preventative strategies, including vaccines, and it’s important to explore all sides in order to make an informed decision. The proposed benefits of vaccines are obvious: a lower infection rate of deadly diseases. But, in what way can vaccines be dangerous for your health? Is it vaccines entirely, or is it specific things found only in certain kinds of vaccines that are concerning? Let’s take a look at exactly what makes some vaccines potentially dangerous.

The Unspoken Reality About Vaccines

What many people don’t know about the vaccination process is that most babies receive 18 inoculations by six months of age. [1] Though this does vaccinate infants against a host of diseases, some have argued that the onslaught of vaccines at such an early age drastically affects development. Is it the vaccines themselves, the extra ingredients added to them, or the strict schedule of vaccinations that can cause issues?

Not All Vaccines Are the Same

A good place to start when researching vaccines would be to know what different types of vaccinations there are. The majority of early vaccinations fall into one of several types:

Live, Attenuated Vaccines

A vaccine that is considered ‘live’ but attenuated is one that contains the pathogen that causes the virus, with the potency of the pathogen greatly reduced. The virus remains live, but it’s altered so that it is somewhat harmless. Examples include the MMR vaccine, chicken pox, and Rotavirus vaccine.

Inactivated Vaccines

Rather than keeping it live, the virus in an inactivated vaccine is grown and then killed before it is sold. Examples include polio, rabies, and Hepatitis A vaccines.

Subunit Vaccines

A subunit vaccine isolates one non-viral component, such as a protein, from a virus and uses it as a vaccine. Examples include flu shots, HPV, and Hepatitis B vaccinations.

Toxoid Vaccines

Toxoid vaccines include inactivated bacterial toxins. Examples include pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus vaccines.

The Biggest Threat Behind Vaccines

So what exactly makes these vaccines dangerous for your health? The ingredients. Many of the ingredients added to vaccines are mainly fillers, used as preservatives or carriers. Here are some of the common ingredients found in most vaccines:

Adjuvants

These help the vaccine garner a better, earlier, and more consistent response from the immune system. The issue here is that sometimes adjuvants can include aluminum gels or salts of aluminum, both of which have been used as adjuvants for over 70 years. [2] Antibiotics are also added to vaccines to prevent bacteria growth; however, no vaccines used in the US contain penicillin.

Formaldehyde and MSG

It is used to neutralize bacterial products for toxoid vaccines. Though most of it is removed before the vaccines are packaged, it is still included in some vaccines. [3] More worrisome than that is the inclusion of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-phenoxy-ethanol (an alternative to formaldehyde). These ingredients are present in vaccines like those for meningococcal-related illnesses. They do help the vaccine handle light, heat, humidity, and acidity which allows the vaccine to remain stabilized.

Mercury

Most problematic, however, is that some vaccines contain thimerosal which is a preservative that can contain mercury (in its non-elemental form).

Vaccines and Autism

Since certain ingredients may not necessarily lead to autism in children, children are generally more susceptible to environmental triggers like air pollution, pesticides, heavy metals, etc. These factors can potentially damage DNA and could result in autoimmune or immune disorders. Due to their increased risk for DNA damage, children are at a higher risk. This means that, if there are harmful substances in certain vaccines that may be dangerous to our health, we might want to avoid them or consult a physician and do some research about the vaccine(s) to decide whether or not we want to vaccinate.

What’s the Solution?

Now that you know what makes vaccines dangerous to your health, what’s the next step? You can also find more information about different types of vaccines on the CDC website, including how the products are made and the ingredients in each vaccine. [4] The best thing to be is educated, especially when it comes to your health or the health of your child.

Ultimately, the decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate is entirely yours. In some areas of the world, this decision has been taken away from citizens, which violates our basic human right of choosing how our health is handled. Vaccines that contain no possible toxic components such as thimerosal, MSG, or any of the others listed (and not listed) in this post are possibly the best route, and hopefully future vaccines will remove these ingredients entirely in the near future. Without those toxic ingredients, vaccines would be safer, especially for infants.

If you have any more questions on which vaccines are right for you and your family, or what makes vaccines dangerous for your health, please don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for more information or read through any of the sources we list below!

References (4)
  1. David Kirby. The Autism-Vaccine Debate: Why It Won’t Go Away. The Huffington Post.
  2. Centers for Disease Control. Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary. CDC Fact Sheet.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ingredients of Vaccines - Fact Sheet. CDC Fact Sheet.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Ingredients. CDC Fact Sheet.

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