Vaccine Ingredients

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Do you know what is in a vaccine?

Vaccines generally contain viral or bacterial components from their target disease, chemicals, and cell debris such as proteins and fragments of DNA from animals, including humans, and plants. Many vaccines have also been found to contain contaminants such as unintended viruses, including retroviruses, from animals, and unintended particles of metal of unknown origin.

Disease components

For a vaccine to be considered to work by the manufacturer, it stimulates the body to produce antibodies to the viral or bacterial particles in the vaccine. The idea is these antibodies will then fight the target disease if the recipient should come into contact with the disease.

We have vaccines for 15 diseases on the childhood schedule here in Australia, and the disease components in these vaccines vary widely in the technology used to make them. See the schedule on our page here: Vaccination Schedules in Australia

Types of vaccines:

  • Vaccines containing live viruses (i.e. are capable of multiplication) include measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox and rotavirus.
  • Vaccines containing virus particles that cannot multiply include flu, HPV, hepatitis B and polio.
  • Bacterial disease vaccines include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b (hib), pneumococcal conjugate and various meningococcal types.

Contaminants from growing disease components

Viruses used in vaccines are grown in laboratories, and they are grown in living cells because viruses can only multiply inside living cells. To keep these cells alive they are bathed in nutrients from animals, at the correct temperature for life. Bacterial components in vaccines are also grown in nutrients obtained from living things.

When disease particles are collected during vaccine manufacture, it is impossible to clean them so they are totally free of all the animal, plant and fungal products used to grow them. This is well-recognised – the preparation of biologic products is very different from making a drug such as a pain killer out of chemicals, where there is no expectation of contamination.

The USA’s CDC is their country’s premiere infectious diseases authority, and they publish a list of contaminants found in vaccines, as supplied to them by the manufacturers. Find it here: Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary

Please be aware that of the vaccines used in Australia, only CSL’s flu vaccine is made here. All the others, including Gardasil 9, are made overseas by USA or European companies.

Human foetal cells

Human cells harvested from aborted foetuses are used for growing several types of viruses in vaccines. These are viruses that naturally infect humans, so can be grown most easily in human cells.

Mostly these cells come from cell lines started in the 1960s. Fragments from these cells end up in vaccines – when we inject these vaccines we are injecting human proteins, fragments of human DNA and other human molecules.

The human cell lines used since the 1960s are known as MRC-5 and WI-38 – here they are in some of the vaccines containing them on the CDC’s excipients table.

MMR is measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and Varicella is chicken pox vaccine

There has been great controversy about this, as many people believe it is not right to use human cells in this way. To read about the Vatican’s position on this visit Abortion, contraception, vaccines: Vatican releases guide of the church’s bioethical teaching

For more on these cells lines see this article: What Are MRC-5 and WI-38? And Why Are They in Vaccines?

Recently scientists in China have developed a new aborted fetal cell line, WALVAX 2 that will be used for viral vaccine production.

Read more about all the cell lines on our page: Aborted foetal cell line use in vaccines

Vaccine foetal DNA and retroviruses linked to autism and cancers

Research published in 2014 demonstrates significant correlation between human foetal DNA and retroviruses in vaccines with autism and childhood leukemia and lymphomas.

See press release: New study in Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology correlates autism disorder increase and human fetal DNA, retroviral agents in vaccines From the press release:

A new study published in the September 2014 volume of the Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology reveals a significant correlation between autism disorder (AD) and MMR, Varicella (chickenpox) and Hepatitis-A vaccines.

Using statistical analysis and data from the US Government, UK, Denmark and Western Australia, scientists at Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI) found that increases in autistic disorder correspond with the introduction of vaccines using human fetal cell lines and retroviral contaminants.

Even more alarming, Dr Theresa Deisher, lead scientist and SCPI founder noted that, “Not only are the human fetal contaminated vaccines associated with autistic disorder throughout the world, but also with epidemic childhood leukemia and lymphomas.”

Listen to Dr Theresa Deisher here:


Read about retrovirusus further down this page, under ‘Viral contamination of vaccines’.

Animal products

Material including proteins and fragments of DNA from the following animals are found in vaccines: monkey (kidney), cow (heart, blood and milk), calf (serum), chicken (embryo and egg), duck (egg), pig (blood), sheep (blood), dog (kidney), horse (blood), rabbit (brain), and guinea pig.

A look through the CDC’s excipients table will also show items such as Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium, Mueller-Miller casamino acid medium and Stainer-Scholte liquid medium.

These are commercial nutrient broths cells are grown in, and their contents are confidential. They contain animal products.


Aluminium is used in many vaccines as an adjuvant – an adjuvant is used in many vaccines to stimulate a strong immune response, which it does by creating inflammation.

Aluminium is not in the live virus vaccines such as the measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox vaccines, and is not in the Australian flu vaccine.

Health authorities maintain the aluminium in vaccines is safe because the amount is less than generally taken in orally in food and water. However, aluminium injected in vaccines is in nano-particulate form and is injected into muscle, while aluminium in food and water enters the body orally and is in ionic (dissolved) form. These are huge differences.

While very little oral aluminium is absorbed into the body, and it is easily flushed out if it is, aluminium nano particles injected into muscle are consumed by immune cells called macrophages and persist in the body, and can cause serious debilitating conditions for years to come. The macrophages can also cross the blood-brain barrier and carry their cargo of aluminium into the brain, causing inflammation and neurological disorders there.

For more on this please visit our page Autism And Vaccines and watch the film Injecting Aluminum.

A problem with aluminium in vaccines is the potential for it to be causing allergies and autoimmune conditions, both of which have skyrocketed in nations who have grown their immunisation schedule dramatically. Have you wondered why so many children are severely allergic to peanuts and other foods these days, foods that have always been staples of our diets?

When aluminium is injected, it stimulates a very strong immune reaction to everything in the vaccine – as we have seen this includes many food proteins and animal proteins. This can easily set up subsequent allergy to any protein in the injection, or any proteins that are homologous to proteins in the injection (due to cross-reactivity). Thus allergy to common foods such as eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts and grains is now common, and schools carry supplies of epipens.

For more on vaccines and allergies read The Peanut Allergy Epidemic, Third Edition: What’s Causing It and How to Stop It

Aluminium can also set up allergy to our own human proteins, due to its hyper activation of the immune system – we call this autoimmune disease, and such diseases include asthma, diabetes Type 1, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, to name a few. Read more about this here: Attacking Ourselves: Top Doctors Reveal Vaccines Turn Our Immune System Against Us

Infanrix hexa vaccine

To investigate other ingredients we will have a look at the Infanrix hexa vaccine, which is given to Australian babies at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. This product is a combination of 6 vaccines given in the one injection, and it contains vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae b (hib) and polio. It is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Belgium, see consumer sheet (accept TGA’s statements to proceed to sheet).

On the Product Monograph for Infanrix hexa, in the ‘Contraindications’ section starting page 4 it says the vaccine “should not be administered to subjects with known hypersensitivity to any component of this vaccine”, and mentions hypersensitivity to the antibiotics it contains.

On pages 23 and 24 are the components of the vaccine dose, including 12.6 mg lactose, 0.7 mg aluminum adjuvants (as aluminum salts), 0.12 mg aluminum (AlPO4), residual formaldehyde, neomycin sulphate (an antibiotic), polymyxin B sulphate (an antibiotic) and up to 5% yeast protein.

How would you know if your young baby might be allergic to any of that? Especially the antibiotics? Remember these components are being injected into muscle, not swallowed, touched or breathed in.

Some other ingredients

Mercury is used in some vaccines as the preservative ethyl mercury, a water soluble and very toxic form of mercury, which was developed in the 1920s to prevent vaccines from “going off” in the vial. Ethyl mercury is variously called Thimerosal, Merthiolate and Thiomersal.

Ethyl mercury in vaccines has been believed to cause neurological damage, including autism, to children. It has now been removed from most vaccines, but is still present in multi-dose flu vaccine vials and is present in trace amounts in some others, including Infanrix hexa, see Mercury in vaccines from the Australian childhood immunization program schedule.

Further reading about mercury in vaccines: The Comparable Dangers of Ethylmercury and Methylmercury

Polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier, used in vaccines to stabilise the mixture of components. There are two concerns with polysorbate 80:

1. Polysorbate is made of vegetable oils, and can contain proteins from sources such as corn and soy. When it is in vaccines it can lead to allergy to these foods, and foods with similar proteins e.g. peanuts, because of the strong immune reaction to all a vaccine’s ingredients elicited by the aluminium in it.

2. Polysorbate is used to deliver chemotherapy drugs to the brain, because it can open up the blood-brain barrier. Therefore polysorbate in vaccines can potentially let harmful substances into the brain.

Read more here: Polysorbate 80: A Risky Vaccine Ingredient

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and is present in some vaccines in trace amounts, and here at the AVN we are inclined to trust Vaccine Papers‘ judgement that this is not dangerous. Please see the following article by Vaccine Papers for an explanation: Formaldehyde. However new information could prove this wrong, after all, science is never settled.

Vaccine package insert (inside the box)

Information on ingredients like in the Infanrix hexa document above is available on package inserts, which your doctor should show you before you vaccinate, so you can give informed consent. Package inserts also list contraindications and any known side effects. We strongly suggest you ask your doctor to show you these, and don’t let them bully you into vaccinating your child or yourself without having the chance to look at them.

We have a collection of product information sheets on this website on this page Vaccine Product Information sheets, but we do suggest you get package inserts from out of the vaccine vial’s box from your medical professionals. You can also do a web search for information sheets – find the commercial name for the vaccines on your state’s immunisation schedule.

Viral contamination of vaccines

Unfortunately the cells vaccine viruses are grown in can be harbouring unknown viruses, which can end up in the vaccines. These can go undetected because the methods for detecting these viruses rely on knowing they might be there and doing specific tests to find them. Here are some cases:

Pig virus

Pig Virus DNA Found in Rotavirus Vaccine
“The contamination was discovered by researchers developing a new technique for detecting viral material. GlaxoSmithKline confirmed that the pig virus, porcine circovirus type 1 or PCV-1, has been in the vaccine since it was developed.”

Cancer-causing monkey virus SV-40 

Simian Virus 40 (SV40), a Possible Human Polyomavirus (Workshop Held at NIH)
“Although another paper reported the failure to detect SV40 DNA in mesotheliomas, these studies have reawakened interest in inadvertent human exposure to SV40 in the late 1950s and early 1960s when polio and adenovirus vaccines prepared in rhesus monkey cells containing SV40 were used .”


“In 2011, she made the discovery that destroyed her career. She found that at least 30% of our vaccines are contaminated with gammaretroviruses. Not only is this contamination associated with autism and chronic fatigue syndrome, it is also associated with Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

All unintended viruses in vaccines are very concerning, but retroviruses in vaccines are partiularly concerning because retroviruses incorporate their DNA into the host cell’s DNA, for indefinite replication. Read about retroviruses on Wikipedia here: Retrovirus

Also read this article by Dr Judy Mikovits on World Mercury ProjectRetroviruses: Poorly Understood Agents of Change. From the article:

“Looking at the excipient list of vaccines, we can quickly see that every vaccine may be contaminated with at least one animal retrovirus family, all of which have been associated with cancers, chronic liver disease, AIDS, ALS, ME/CFS and autism.”

Article from FDA (US Food & Drug Administration)

Investigating Viruses in Cells Used to Make Vaccines; and Evaluating the Potential Threat Posed by Transmission of Viruses to Humans

“In some cases the cell lines that are used might be tumorigenic, that is, they form tumors when injected into rodents. Some of these tumor-forming cell lines may contain cancer-causing viruses that are not actively reproducing. Such viruses are hard to detect using standard methods. These latent, or “quiet,” viruses pose a potential threat, since they might become active under vaccine manufacturing conditions. Therefore, to ensure the safety of vaccines, our laboratory is investigating ways to activate latent viruses in cell lines and to detect the activated viruses, as well as other unknown viruses, using new technologies.”

Dirty vaccines

All the ingredients and contaminants discussed on this page so far have been either put into vaccines intentionally, or are understandable leftovers from the production process, or are not totally unexpected in the case of contamination with viruses, including retroviruses, because it is known these are found in living cells.

In contrast to this, Italian scientists published a paper in January 2017 reporting on their investigation into the contents of 30 vaccines, using an electron microscope, and they found all the vaccines they looked at except one, a cat vaccine, contained inexplicable contamination with dangerous micro- and nano-sized particles. Find the paper here: New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and Nanocontamination

The contamination included particles of lead, tungsten, a gold-zinc aggregate, iron, iron alloys, titanium and many more. From the paper:

The quantity of foreign bodies detected and, in some cases, their unusual chemical compositions baffled us, … In most circumstances, the combinations detected are very odd as they have no technical use, cannot be found in any material handbook and look like the result of the random formation occurring, for example, when waste is burnt. In any case, whatever their origin, they should not be present in any injectable medicament, let alone in vaccines, more in particular those meant for infants.

We strongly suggest you read about this in the following article: Dirty Vaccines: New Study Reveals Prevalence of Contaminants

We also suggest you read this article by James Lyons-Weiler: Breaking Interview: Lead Author of ‘Dirty Vaccines’ Study Speaks Out In this article James interviews the lead author Dr. Antonietta Gatti – here is one of her statements:

Certainly the particles, be they isolated, aggregated or clustered, are not supposed to be there. They are foreign bodies our tissues can’t recognize and, because of that, they are perceived as potential enemies. The biological reactions are expected to be fairly complicated, with macrophages that try to engulf them the way they do normally with bacteria and parasites. Unfortunately, though, the particles we found then and keep finding now in vaccines are not biodegradable. So, all macrophages’ efforts are useless and, also depending on the chemical elements involved, the particles may be especially toxic. Cytokines and pro-inflammatory substances in general are released and a granulation tissue forms enveloping the particles. This involves inflammation, and, in the long run, such a chronic condition can lead to cancer.

A comprehensive list of ingredients

human-diploid fibroblast cell cultures (strain WI-38),

Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium,

fetal bovine serum,

sodium bicarbonate,

monosodium glutamate,




human serum albumin,

potassium phosphate,

plasdone C,

anhydrous lactose,

microcrystalline cellulose,

polacrilin potassium,

magnesium stearate,

cellulose acetate phthalate,



castor oil,

FD&C Yellow #6 aluminum lake dye

amino acids,


inorganic salts,


aluminum hydroxide,

sodium chloride,

benzethonium chloride,




citric acid,

magnesium sulfate,

iron ammonium citrate,


casamino acids,

yeast extract,

mineral salts,

anti-foaming agent,

ascorbic acid,

hydrolyzed casein,

dried lactose,

sodium carbonate

aluminum phosphate,

isotonic sodium chloride,







Stainer-Scholte medium,


Mueller’s growth medium,

modified Mueller-Miller casamino acid medium without beef heart infusion

Fenton medium containing a bovine extract,

modified Latham medium derived from bovine casein,

modified Stainer-Scholte liquid medium,

polysorbate 80 (Tween 80)

VERO cells,

a continuous line of monkey kidney cells,

Calf serum,

lactalbumin hydrolysate,

neomycin sulfate,

polymyxin B

modified Mueller’s growth medium,

normal human diploid cells,

CMRL 1969 medium supplemented with calf serum,

Medium 199 without calf serum,


polymyxin B sulfate

aluminum salts,

yeast protein.

bovine serum albumin,

MRC-5 cells (a line of normal human diploid cells),

modified Mueller and Miller medium(the culture medium contains milk-derived raw materials [casein derivatives]),


synthetic medium,

complex fermentation media,

amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate,


amino acid supplement,

aminoglycoside antibiotic

MRC-5 diploid fibroblasts,

non-viral protein,


bovine albumin,

sodium borate,

disodium phosphate dihydrate,

sodium dihydrogen phosphate dihydrate

soy peptone,


phosphate buffer,

potassium aluminum sulfate,

yeast DNA,


phosphorothioate linked oligodeoxynucleotide,

phosphate buffered saline,

sodium phosphate,

dibasic dodecahydrate,

monobasic dehydrate,

MRC-5 human diploid cells,



monobasic sodium phosphate,

dibasic sodium phosphate,

monobasic potassium chloride,

calcium chloride,

sodium taurodeoxycholate,





sorbitan trioleate,

sodium citrate dehydrate,

citric acid monohydrate,



egg proteins,

cetyltrimethylammonium bromide(CTAB),

α-tocopheryl hydrogen succinate,


gentamicin sulfate,

sodium deoxycholate,

dibasic sodium phosphate,

polysorbate 20 (Tween 20),

baculovirus and Spodoptera frugiperda cell proteins,

baculovirus and cellular DNA,


Madin Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell protein,

protein other than HA,

MDCK cell DNA,

cetyltrimethlyammonium bromide,

and β-propiolactone polymyxin,


nonylphenol ethoxylate,

octylphenol ethoxylate (Triton X-100),

sodium phosphate-buffered isotonic sodium chloride solution,

sodium phosphate-buffered isotonic

hydrolyzed porcine gelatin,


dibasic potassium phosphate,

monobasic potassium phosphate,

ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)

protamine sulfate,

host cell DNA,

sodium metabisulphite,

host cell protein

Watson Scherp media containing casamino acid, modified culture medium containing

sodium phosphate,

Franz complete medium, CY medium)



defined fermentation growth media,

histidine buffered saline

chick embryo cell culture,

WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts,


recombinant human albumin,


hydrolyzed gelatin,

sodium phosphate,

monosodium L-glutamate,

sodium phosphate dibasic,

human albumin,

potassium phosphate dibasic,


soy peptone broth,

casamino acids and yeast extract-based medium,

CRM197 carrier protein,

succinate buffer,

Eagle MEM modified medium,

calf bovine serum, M-199 without calf bovine serum,



phenol red indicator,

MRC-5 human diploid cells,


chicken fibroblasts,


polygeline (processed bovine gelatin),

bovine serum,

potassium glutamate,

sodium EDTA,


amphotericin B

sodium citrate,

sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate,

sodium hydroxide,

cell culture media,

vero cells [DNA from porcine circoviruses (PCV) 1 and 2


Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium

(ferric (III) nitrate,

sodium phosphate,

sodium pyruvate,


concentrated vitamin solution,



amino acids solution,

L-250 glutamine,

sodium hydrogenocarbonate,

phenol red,

calcium carbonate,

sterile water,


African Green Monkey kidney (Vero) cells,


ammonium sulfate

modified Mueller’s media which contains bovine extracts,

hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide,


monosodium phosphate,

semi-synthetic medium


human embryonic lung cell cultures,

guinea pig cell cultures,

human diploid cell cultures (WI-38),

human diploid cell cultures (MRC-5),

EDTA(Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid),

potassium phosphate monobasic,

dioleoyl phosphatidylcholine (DOPC),

potassium dihydrogen phosphate,


disodium phosphate anhydrous,

dipotassium phosphate,

Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO)

cell proteins,