Overinformed Refusal Has to be Stopped

November 28, 2011 by
Filed under: News, Parents' Pages, Vaccine Myths 

And Sanofi Pasteur is taking action with their new web-site.

The ImmYounity(SM) campaign provides consumer-friendly, accurate and science-based information about immunization that can be easily accessed at www.vaccines.com. The site contains useful facts and resources, including visuals that can be easily shared via social media and email, and is supplemented by educational brochures offered for use by health-care providers.

Sounds absolutely wonderful. Especially as they set the bar high in these statements on their Educate Others page.

  • Make sure the author cites the sources where he or she got the information, along with links to these sources. Is information presented objectively, or is it biased?
  • Does the Web site cite scientific evidence for the statements that are made? Can facts and opinions be easily distinguished?

This is certainly what insidevaccines strives to do. How does Vaccines.com hold up when you start looking at their references?

On their Vaccine Q & A page we found this question and answers:

Why are additives put in vaccines?

Additives in vaccines serve some of the same functions as food additives—they can act as preservatives and help extend shelf life, and are only used in very tiny amounts. Small amounts of additives are also used to kill or inactivate vaccines.67

Here are some additives you may have questions about:

Aluminum is used in some vaccines to allow for a better immune response. Infants are constantly exposed to aluminum in a number of ways: it’s present in air, water, food, even in breast milk. The amount used in vaccines, though, is a tiny fraction of the amount a baby would receive through breast milk or formula in the first 6 months of life. That small amount is eliminated quickly from a baby’s body.68

Antibiotics are used to prevent growth of bacteria during production and storage and rarely cause allergic reactions.67,68

Thimerosal is a preservative that is no longer in most children’s vaccines. It has been used in very small amounts to multidose vials of vaccine (which hold more than one dose) to prevent bacteria from contaminating the vaccine.8

If you have any concerns about what additives are in a specific vaccine, be sure to talk to your child’s health-care professional.

So, for supporting references we have 67, 68 and 8.

8 is US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thimerosol in vaccines. http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/safetyavailability/vaccinesafety/ucm096228.htm. Accessed August 15, 2011.

67 is CDC. Vaccines and Immunizations. Ingredients of Vaccines – Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm. Updated February 22, 2011. Accessed August 15, 2011.

68 is Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Vaccine ingredients: what you should know. http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients.pdf. Accessed August 15, 2011.

Secondary sources. Okay. So we’ll go and see if  the secondary sources are supported by primary sources.

The FDA page has this list of supporting literature (reference #8) BibliographyStudies on Safety and Effectiveness of Thimerosal:

  1. Batts AH, Narriott C, Martin GP, et al. The effect of some preservatives used in nasal preparations on mucociliary clearance. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 1989; 41:156-159.
  2. Batty I, Harris E, Gasson A. Preservatives and biological reagents. Developments in Biological Standardization 1974;24:131-142.
  3. Beyer-Boon ME, Arntz PW, Kirk RS. A comparison of thimerosal and 50% alcohol as preservatives in urinary cytology. Journal of Clinical Pathology 1979;32:168-170.
  4. Gasset AR, Itoi M, Ishii Y, Ramer RM. Teratogenicities of ophthalmic drugs. II. Teratogenicites and tissue accumulation of thimerosal. Archives of Ophthalmology 1975;93:52-55.
  5. Goldman KN, Centifanta Y, Kaufman HF, et al. Prevention of surface bacterial contamination of donor corneas. Archives of Ophthalmology 1978;96:2277-2280.
  6. Keeven J, Wrobel S, Portoles M, et al. Evaluating the preservative effectiveness of RGP lens care solutions. Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists Journal 1995;21:238-241.
  7. Naito R, Itoh T, Hasegawa E, et al. Bronopol as a substitute for thimerosal. Developments in Biological Standardization 1974;24:39-48.
  8. Wozniak-Parnowska W, Krowczynski L. New approach to preserving eye drops. Pharmacy International 1981;2(4):91-94.

We don’t actually see anything in that list which indicates that thimerosal was found safe for injection into infants. What are we missing?

Reference #67 goes to the CDC. The CDC page is very scanty on references. They point people with questions to three places: First to a table of excipients sorted two ways.  A helpful reference, but one that leaves a questioning parent with a heavy load of research in front of them.  Second to an info sheet about aluminum from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Third to an article by Paul Offit published in Pediatrics. “Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Vaccines Contain Harmful Preservatives, Adjuvants, Additives, or Residuals?” Pediatrics Vol. 112 No. 6 December 1, 2003  pp. 1394 -1397 The article is available full-text.

The info sheet on aluminum makes an interesting statement:

About 50 percent of aluminum in vaccines or in food is eliminated in less than 24 hours; 85 percent is eliminated in two weeks and 96 percent is eliminated in three years. The ability of the body to rapidly eliminate aluminum accounts for its excellent record of safety.

Above, vaccines.com answer says:

That small amount is eliminated quickly from a baby’s body.

Here are the references provided to support the statements on the info sheet:

Baylor NW, Egan W, Richman P. Aluminum salts in vaccines— U.S. perspective. Vaccine 2002; 20: S18-S23.

Bishop NJ, Morley R, Day JP, Lucas A. Aluminum neurotoxicity in preterm infants receiving intravenous-feeding solutions. New England Journal of Medicine 1997; 336: 1557-1561.

Committee on Nutrition: Aluminum toxicity in infants and children. Pediatrics 1996; 97: 413-416.

Ganrot, PO. Metabolism and possible health effects of aluminum. Environmental Health Perspective 1986; 65: 363- 441.

Keith LS, Jones DE, Chou C. Aluminum toxicokinetics regarding infant diet and vaccinations. Vaccine 2002; 20: S13- S17.

Pennington JA. Aluminum content of food and diets. Food Additives and Contaminants, 1987; 5: 164-232.

Simmer K, Fudge A, Teubner J, James SL. Aluminum concentrations in infant formula. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 1990; 26: 9-11.

Only two references that actually consider the question of aluminum in vaccines. Here is the abstract for the Baylor article:

Aluminum in the form of aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate or alum has been commonly used as an adjuvant in many vaccines licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration. Chapter 21 of the US Code of Federal Regulations [610.15(a)] limits the amount of aluminum in biological products, including vaccines, to 0.85 mg/dose. The amount of aluminum in vaccines currently licensed in the US ranges from 0.85-0.125 mg/dose. Clinical studies have demonstrated that aluminum enhances the antigenicity of some vaccines such as diphtheria and tetanus toxoids. Moreover, aluminum-adsorbed diphtheria and tetanus toxoids are distinctly more effective than plain fluid toxoids for primary immunization of children. There is little difference between plain and adsorbed toxoids for booster immunization. Aluminum adjuvants have a demonstrated safety profile of over six decades; however, these adjuvants have been associated with severe local reactions such as erythema, subcutaneous nodules and contact hypersensitivity.

And here is the abstract from the Keith article:

Some vaccines contain aluminum adjuvants to enhance the immunological response, and it has been postulated that this aluminum could contribute to adverse health effects, especially in children who receive a vaccination series starting at birth. The pharmacokinetic properties and end-point toxicities of aluminum are presented. In assessing the relevance of dietary and medical aluminum exposure to public health, we estimated infant body burdens during the first year of life for breast milk and formula diets and for a standard vaccination schedule. We then compared those body burdens with that expected for intake at a level considered safe for intermediate-duration exposure. The methodology blends intake values and uptake fractions with an aluminum retention function derived from a human injection study using radioactive 26Al. The calculated body burden of aluminum from vaccinations exceeds that from dietary sources, however, it is below the minimal risk level equivalent curve after the brief period following injection.

Do you find these abstracts reassuring? We don’t.

To sum it all up very briefly, the argument is that the amount of aluminum in vaccines is very small, that it is quickly eliminated, that more goes into the body from food and that there is no evidence that the aluminum in vaccines does any harm. Which does not all add up to mean that aluminum in vaccines is actually safe.

We recommend that every concerned parent read Dr. Offit’s article. It is very revealing and very interesting. In addition to discussing thimerosal and aluminum he addresses a number of other vaccine ingredients that are less well known: gelatin, human serum albumin, bovine derived reagants, antibiotics, egg proteins, yeast proteins. The article has 97 references so it would be a valuable resource for further research.

We know that you are all getting sort of worn out…

But we should take a quick look at reference #68. It is another reference sheet from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and has a select bibliography. You won’t be surprised to note that the last reference is Offit’s article from Pediatrics, discussed above.  I’m not going to bother to cut and paste the list–go look at it yourself if you are interested!


Returning to our beginning:

Make sure the author cites the sources where he or she got the information, along with links to these sources. Is information presented objectively, or is it biased?

Does the Web site cite scientific evidence for the statements that are made? Can facts and opinions be easily distinguished?

Do you think that vaccine.com lives up to their hype? Considering that in most cases we had to dig down two or even three layers to get to some actual science, I’d give them a fail. And the science cited doesn’t actually support the claims made in most cases.

Finally, they don’t say this, but the science cited should be up-to-date. I went and looked on PubMed to see if there was some recent research on aluminum (since that is the ingredient we’ve discussed the most in this brief article).

I did a search limited to articles published in the last two years, looking at children from birth to age 18 and available in English. Look what I found:

Curr Med Chem. 2011;18(17):2630-7.

Aluminum vaccine adjuvants: are they safe?

Tomljenovic L, Shaw CA.


Neural Dynamics Research Group, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L8, Canada. lucijat77@gmail.com


Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted. Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In particular, aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences. In our opinion, the possibility that vaccine benefits may have been overrated and the risk of potential adverse effects underestimated, has not been rigorously evaluated in the medical and scientific community. We hope that the present paper will provide a framework for a much needed and long overdue assessment of this highly contentious medical issue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Next week we’ll take another look at their science and their sources. Preview: if you thought this was bad, there is worse to come!





13 Comments on Overinformed Refusal Has to be Stopped

  1. myra on Mon, 28th Nov 2011 7:56 am
  2. Thank you for this article. I’m laughing out of the pathetic-ness of their attempt to give facts. I hope you write many more like this one.

  3. MinorityView on Mon, 28th Nov 2011 9:22 pm
  4. Thanks for the kind comment, Myra. There are many more helpful and interesting articles already up on the blog, I suggest you dig back through our archives and read any that interest you.

  5. Caturn on Tue, 29th Nov 2011 1:41 pm
  6. Kudos!!! Love it – thank you.

  7. Patrick on Thu, 1st Dec 2011 3:51 am
  8. This is so funny because when the Dr’s were badgering us about vaccinating they kept giving us these handouts full of “references”. When I dug into the underlying studies, there was no correlation between the stated “facts” and the results of the cited studies. When I asked the doctor what she thought of the underlying information she admitted having never looked beyond the handout.

  9. admin on Thu, 1st Dec 2011 6:51 am
  10. Funny! But very sick. Thanks for sharing your story :)

  11. Tamara Graham RN, BSN on Thu, 1st Dec 2011 10:01 am
  12. Wow, you should have lead with the last article on aluminum in case people didn’t read the whole thing! Please try to repost the last part about the importance of recent research in a new article. If you notice, this is a tactic the CDC often uses – citing old research which is not only outdated, but of very poor quality and not randomized double blind studies which hold up to scientific scutiny. They also tend to pick research wth authors who have huge conflicts of interest with Big Pharma, such as Paul Offit who makes millions off his roto virus vaccine patents.

    I found this whole research ‘scam’ to be true when I started looking into water fluoridation. What I came to find most shocking was how my peers in nursing and doctors I work with are so unaware of this problem….health professionals are so busy taking care of patients then going home and taking care of families, they don’t have time to spend reading research. Most of them simply blindly endorse the CDC, FDA, EPA trusting these agencies have the public’s best interest, safety and health at heart…nothing could be further from the truth! These agencies are bought and paid for by Big Pharma, Big Oil and Big Agra. There is a revolving door between these agencies and the the companies that fund them who lobby hard to push their corporate agendas. People need to start waking up and holding these agencies accountable.

  13. Zed on Fri, 2nd Dec 2011 3:02 pm
  14. Many thanks, and we look forward to more. It’s nice to be properly armed.

  15. Virginia on Sat, 28th Jan 2012 4:51 am
  16. Bravo! I applaud you! I always sensed a disconnect between the federally issued statements and the “scientific research,” but I got bogged down and never thought of following the references all the way to some real science.
    I love this format! You’ve brought me great information and saved me hours of research!

  17. Jenny on Sun, 26th Feb 2012 4:32 am
  18. Thank you so much for this! I agree with Virginia about the format. I am sick of all the lies and coverups and the doctors who really should know better. The madness has to be stopped!

    [...] We don’t actually see anything in that list which indicates that thimerosal was found safe for inj… ” – http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/2011/11/28/overinformed-refusal-has-to-be-stopped/ [...]

  19. sudhir on Mon, 2nd Jul 2012 11:04 pm
  20. thanks for the information. there are a lot of articles referred here and hence some questions…since seeking the truth requires that we challenge ourselves i am posing these questions at the risk of being labelled as pro-vaccination:
    1. if no data can be relied upon, how can we conclude that vaccines are effective or ineffective?
    2. if the logic is that big pharma does not care for the life of its own customers, and their customer-base is suffering how long can these companies be around. shouldn’t they have been extinct in the first 10-20 years of their existence?
    3. if we decide to point fingers at a process (in this case of vaccine manufacturing and the ingredients), is the expectation that the process be flawless day-1? or do we assume that since the process is being changed/improved/modified it is to be deemed as a fault of the organization/pharma/anyone involved with them?
    4. if the environment plays a major role in the hosting/housing of these disease causing bacteria/virus, whats the point in focussing research on the vaccine ingredients and their ill-effects? rather focus on research targeted at the perfect environment required to control the virus/bacteria. i don’t see any of these referred to in any of the sites?
    5. how can one weigh the risk and rewards of vaccination or non-vaccination? the only for and against arguments seem to be an extremely technical discussion and evidence and statistics on both sides are un-reliable..i.e CDC/WHO seem to be suppressing the numbers and communities and organization against vaccinations seem to be bloating the numbers. where is nirvana?
    6. is this an effect of over-educating the non-professional lot?

    sorry for these questions but hope you understand my frustration with this topic..

  21. MinorityView on Wed, 4th Jul 2012 11:59 am
  22. I don’t find any of your questions particularly compelling. In fact they all seem rather contrived and manipulative, designed to force answers that make no sense and even sound silly.

    Try again.

  23. kelly on Sat, 1st Dec 2012 4:45 am
  24. Sudhir, to answer your questions, if political leaders allow them as something safe for kids and adults cos it brings vaccine manufacturers money in return for more votes for the government, who cares about expiry dates and what nots? Sounds logical? ~wink~

    Good post, InsideVaccines.com! Keep it up!

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