Next up in our voyage of crank discovery, via extracts from my IAS charity complaint, is a breakdown of simplistic reasoning around vaccine ingredients. Again, I have reproduced elements of the original article here for your convenience.

The following example was posted as a look at vaccine ingredients in two parts. I will not be so lenient – Both in one for you.

Vaccine Ingredients – Part 1
posted May 6, 2011

This post contains a number of misunderstandings and falsehoods both explicitly stated and implied. The post lists the type of cell culture lines that viruses are cultivated in in order to create vaccines and then implies that the cells from these cultures are still found in the final vaccine product that is injected, including the emotive claim that we are injecting aborted foetal tissue into our children with the vaccine.

“I bought Sue Claridge’s fantastic book “Investigate Before You Vaccinate,” and turned to page 44 which states: “The cell cultures used to grow the viruses and bacteria include monkey kidney (vero cells), foetal calf serum, chick embryo fluid, yeast and human diploid cells (cells from aborted human foetuses). WHAT?! You mean to tell me that we are injecting aborted human fetal cells into our babies?!”

This is incorrect.

While it is true that there are some cell lines used to culture viruses used in vaccines, it is inaccurate to say that we are injecting these cells into children. Once again precision in language is important, there are currently existing cell lines that were originally cultured using aborted foetal tissue. These cell lines used originated in the 1960s1, meaning that the cultures used now many cell replication generations removed from the original tissue and are now are simply cells grown for medical use – not foetuses.

The only vaccine in the New Zealand schedule to be developed using cell lines derived in this fashion is the MMR vaccine, due to the inability to grow Rubella virus in any other type of cell line2. Vaccines must also be purified before use in order to remove these cells prior to injection3,4. Following purification the cells of the original culture are no longer present.

The article then proceeds to give a laundry list of possible vaccine ingredients, with the implication that the levels of these compounds are harmful at the doses provided in the vaccine.

“…formaldehyde (an embalming fluid). SERIOUSLY?! Oh, it gets better!!! Some vaccines also contain mercury, aluminium, preservatives, stabilisers, lactose, sorbitol, sodium chloride, sucrose, sodium borate, magnesium chloride, sodium phosphate, hydrolised gelatine, neomycin, gentimicin, streptomycin and human albumin…”

This dose insensitivity of the anti-vaccine rhetoric is recurrent and important. All chemicals have a threshold above which they can have detrimental effects on human physiology, the question is whether this threshold is exceeded by vaccine ingredients. The medical community is in agreement that the answer to this question is “no”. At this point the anti-vaccine community does not need to provide proof that the levels of compounds found in vaccines are harmful, the only goal is to raise questions about safety.

The United States CDC website has a page dedicated to vaccine ingredients and countering anti-vaccine questions about them5. The IAS article highlights that formaldehyde is used in vaccines and points out that this is used as an embalming fluid. The CDC website answers this question and it is telling that the IAS article does not mention that formaldehyde is also made in the body during normal metabolism. In fact it is calculated that a baby (depending on size) would have more than 50 times the amount of formaldehyde in its body naturally than it would get from a vaccine dose.

Most of the rest of the ingredients listed are stabilisers and preservatives of the vaccine components. Several such as sodium chloride (table salt) and sucrose (sugar) would not be considered harmful by most reasonable people. As such I will point out a small selection that would seem to be concerning and give the actual facts behind their use.

The first that would seem worrying is amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate. The approximate amount of this compound used in vaccines is 225 μg. Used as an adjuvant (a vaccine additive that modifies its effects) this ingredient actually makes the vaccine more potent by enhancing the body’s immune response to the vaccine. As such it has an 80 year track record of safety in vaccines6. Also, dietary sources of aluminium are not insignificant, estimated at 1.6-13 mg per day7 or 7-60 times that in the vaccine, even though bioavailability of chemicals is affected by the method of introduction to the body (oral vs injection) it’s hard to see how this minuscule amount would make any difference.

Another potentially scary sounding chemical in vaccines is sodium borate, the approximate dose per injection of vaccine is 35 μg. This is used to balance the pH. The LD50 (a measure of toxicity) for this compound is 2-3 g/kg in mammals8 and as such is actually slightly less toxic than table salt (~3 g/kg9), the 35 μg in the vaccine if given to a 50kg individual equals a 0.7 μg/kg dose, this isn’t even close to a dose high enough to cause even a minor problem.

The article goes on to make a specious assertion that we were “created perfect as we are” and that we shouldn’t need to inject “formaldehyde and monkey cells” into our bodies to make our immune systems work, if we did we would be “born with it”.

“Weren’t we created perfect as we are? Do we really need to be “fixed” or “made better” by injecting these substances into our bodies? If we were meant to have formaldehyde and monkey cells in our bodies in order for our immune systems to work, wouldn’t we have been born with it?”

Aside from the unintended irony that we actually were born with formaldehyde in our bodies this claim is poor reasoning. By this criteria some of us would have also been “born with” glasses or contact lenses or hearing aids. This article also would appear to refute the utility of acquired immunity – if we needed foreign bodies in our system to make our immune systems work then we would have been born with them.

Finally the question is asked “If we’re all suddenly going to get sick or die if we don’t get these vaccines, then how did we survive for tens of thousands of years without these ingredients inside us?” ignoring for the moment that it is not the vaccine ingredients themselves that we need but rather the antigens in the vaccine that the rest of the ingredients stabilise and preserve, the simple answer to this question is “millions of us didn’t survive”.

Vaccine Ingredients – Part 2
Posted May 9 2011

This post appears to be one long argument attempting to cast doubt on the level of knowledge we have regarding the operation of our immune system. By quoting from an anatomy and physiology text book10 and emphasising tentative sounding words such as “appears”, “may” and “apparently” the author is attempting to show that the entire field on immunology is in doubt.

“On page 778, after talking about T cell maturation, it mentions that “less is known about the factors that control B cell maturation in humans” i.e. they haven’t quite figured out how B cells mature in our bodies yet. Another classic is on page 792, when they try to explain why the immune cells sometimes attack foreign human cells when a patient has received a graft. Their explanation is that “apparently, [emphasis mine] the cytotoxic T cells sometimes ‘see’ the foreign class I MHC antigens as a combination of self class I MHC protein bound to foreign antigen” i.e. they don’t actually [emphasis mine] know how it works, but this is their best guess.”

The fact that the text is dealing with minutia of the immune system down to the level of cell generation and activity seems to not persuade the author that in fact there is a great deal currently known about immunity and how our immune system works. To the point that it is considered feasible (by the author) that future text books will recall the use of vaccines and their “toxic ingredients” as complete folly.

The level of argument here is such that similar reasoning could be used to show that since the fluid dynamics at the edges of aircraft wing tips is not completely worked out, in the future we may discover that airplanes cannot fly after all. The point of this parody is to show that the author is confusing knowledge of mechanism with knowledge of efficacy. We know vaccines work, study upon study of new and old vaccines verify this fact every day. The inability of science to answer every minute facet of why they work does not invalidate this data. Once again the only goal here is to plant a seed of doubt about the safety and effectiveness of vaccine in the minds of the public. As such the IAS once again demonstrates the education is not the desired outcome of their operation.


1. Cell lines

2. Vaccine Manufacture

3. Vaccine Purification:

4. Vaccine requirements(Section III, sub section B.5. paragraph 2):

5. CDC Vaccine ingredients page:

6. Aluminium track record:

7. Dietary aluminium:

8. Sodium Borate MSDS:

9. Safety sheet for NaCl

10. The Text book that appears to be written about: