Aluminium is found in tiny amounts in the following vaccines used in Ireland.
- 6-in-1 vaccine: Infanrix Hexa (0.82 milligrams)
- Prevenar 13 (0.125 milligrams)
- MenB vaccine: Bexsero (0.5 milligrams)
Aluminium is an adjuvant. Aluminium is added to vaccines to increase the immune response to the vaccine.
Aluminium is the most abundant element on earth and is in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. It is also found in medication such as antacids.
The biggest source of aluminium is in our diet (e.g. in fruits and vegetables, flour, cereals, nuts, honey, dairy products and baby formula). It has been used in vaccines for more than 80 years. Vaccines that contain aluminium have been given to more than 1 billion people.
Children normally consume from 0.7 - 2.3 mg/kg aluminium per week.
Infant formula contains 0.225 milligrams of aluminium/litre.
(A milligram is a tiny amount; there are 5,000 milligrams in a teaspoon measure).
Studies show that the level of aluminium in the blood does not change after getting a vaccine that contains an aluminium adjuvant.
Monitoring the safety of vaccines during the last 80 years has shown us that aluminium adjuvants are associated with local reactions only. Very rarely aluminium adjuvants may cause small itchy lumps (also called granulomas) to develop at the injection site, which normally get better on their own within a few months.
Aluminium in vaccines is not associated with any chronic medical illness.