Why is there aluminium in vaccines?
According to the Oxford Vaccine Group, aluminium strengthens and lengthens the immune response to the vaccine. It appears to slow the release of the active ingredient from the vaccine once it is injected and stimulate the immune system to respond to it. It also absorbs protein well and stops the proteins in the vaccine sticking to the walls of a container during storage.
Aluminium adjuvants are used in vaccines such as hepatitis B, diphtheria-tetanus-containing vaccines, Hib, and pneumococcal vaccines, but they are not used in the live, viral vaccines, such as measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and rotavirus.
Health Freedom Ireland (HFI) encourages you to become fully informed about vaccines and the associated illnesses so that you can give informed consent if you choose to vaccinate yourself or your child(ren). This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. HFI is simply bringing this information to you – we neither recommend nor advise against vaccination.
Is there a difference between ingesting and injecting aluminium?
It is true that aluminium is found in many common foods, even breastmilk. However it is estimated that less than 1% is absorbed into the body whereas almost 100% is absorbed via injection when babies are vaccinated:
A review titled ‘Short review of aluminum hydroxide related lesions in preclinical studies and their relevance’ states:
“It has been concluded that dietary aluminum is very poorly absorbed, ~0.25 %, is absorbed into systemic circulation, and aluminum from vaccines may be absorbed at nearly 100%”
Another study ‘Safety evaluation of dietary aluminum’ states:
“The amount of aluminum in the diet is small, compared with the amount of aluminum in antacids and some buffered analgesics. The healthy human body has effective barriers (skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract) to reduce the systemic absorption of aluminum ingested from water, foods, drugs, and air. The small amount of aluminum (<1%) that is systemically absorbed is excreted principally in the urine.”
Can aluminium get into the brain?
One of the ingredients in vaccines is Polysorbate-80 (also called Tween 80). It is commonly used to help drugs and compounds cross the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) where they would not otherwise be able to do so. A current search in PubMed using the keywords ‘polysorbate 80 AND blood brain barrier’ gives 138 results. Many of these papers speak about drug loaded nanoparticles with Polysorbate 80 being able to cross the blood brain barrier. One example is a paper titled ‘The Blood-Brain Barrier: Bottleneck in Brain Drug Development’ which states that:
“A dose of polysorbate-80 of 3-30 mg/kg will cause BBB disruption in mice. Analgesia with kyotorphin, a oligopeptide that normally does not cross the BBB, is possible following the peripheral administration of the peptide, providing Tween 80 is co-administered.”
Another study has shown that it can carry iron oxide into the brain. Aluminium for example, is a metal that is contained in vaccines in various sizes including nano particle size. Prevenar-13 (which is given at 2, 6 & 13 months) is one vaccine that contains both Polysorbate-80 and aluminium.
A study called ‘Vaccines, adjuvants and autoimmunity’ confirms that aluminium can cross the blood brain barrier:
“Aluminum nanoparticles have both a unique capacity of surpassing the blood brain barrier (BBB) and of eliciting immune inflammatory responses. These are probably the reasons why Aluminums’ most sensitive target is the brain, and also why documented side effects are mostly neurologic or neuropsychiatric.”
It goes on to explain that even small amounts of aluminium are neurotoxic and that neurological impairments in children have been linked to it:
“Aluminum is present in nature, not only as a vaccine adjuvant, but also in food, water and cosmetics. It has been described as a neurotoxin because even when a relatively small amount of Aluminium reaches the brain , is can act as a genotoxin , a prooxidant , it can be proinflammatory , act as an immunotoxin  and also as an endocrine disruptor . Aluminum interferes with many essential cellular processes. Memory, concentration, speech deficits, impaired psychomotor control, reduced seizure tolerance and altered behaviour are manifestations of aluminium neurotoxicity. Moreover, Alzheimer’s , amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinsonism dementia , multiple sclerosis , and neurological impairments in children have been linked to aluminum neurotoxicity .“
How much aluminium do babies get in vaccines?
The FDA maximum restriction for aluminium in an IV for babies is 25mcg per litre. A baby even at 6 months old would drink less than a litre in a 24 hour period so this is effectively less than 25mcg per day. The IV products must contain this warning:
“WARNING: This product contains aluminum that may be toxic. Aluminum may reach toxic levels with prolonged parenteral administration if kidney function is impaired. Premature neonates are particularly at risk because their kidneys are immature, and they require large amounts of calcium and phosphate solutions, which contain aluminum.
Research indicates that patients with impaired kidney function, including premature neonates, who receive parenteral levels of aluminum at greater than 4 to 5 [micro]g/kg/day accumulate aluminum at levels associated with central nervous system and bone toxicity. Tissue loading may occur at even lower rates of administration.“
Vaccines are not required to have this label and in some cases contain many times this amount. For example the 6-in-1 (Infanrix Hexa) vaccine contains 820mcg which is 32 times this amount and is given to babies 3 times in their first 7 months. Bear in mind, that all of this is absorbed in the body as the usual barriers are bypassed when it is injected. The following table shows the amount of aluminium in the vaccines given in Ireland:
Aluminium per vaccine on Irish schedule (2023)
|Vaccine name||When given||Amount of aluminium (mcg)|
|Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1)||2, 4 & 6 months||820|
|Prevenar-13 (PCV)||2, 6 & 13 months||125|
|Bexsero (Men B)||2, 4 & 12 months||500|
|Rotarix (Rotavirus)||2 & 4 months||0|
|Menjugate (Men C)||6 months||300|
|M-M-RVaxpro (MMR)||12 months & 4 years||0|
|Menitorix (Hib/Men C)||13 months||0|
|Tetravac (4 in 1)||4 years||300|
This table shows how much aluminium babies are being injected with at each visit to the doctor for vaccines. At the two month visit, a baby gets 58 times more aluminium than they would be allowed in an IV over a 24 hour period.
Total aluminium given in vaccines per visit
|Recommended age to vaccinate||Vaccines given||Total amount of aluminium (mcg)||Number of times greater than allowed quantity per FDA|
|2 months||Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1)|
Bexsero (Men B)
|4 months||Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1)|
Bexsero (Men B)
|6 months||Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1)|
Menjugate (Men C)
|12 months||M-M-RVaxpro (MMR)|
Bexsero (Men B)
|13 months||Prevenar-13 (PCV)|
Menitorix (Hib/Men C)
|4 years||Tetravac (4 in 1)|
What do the scientific studies say about aluminium?
Doing a search in Pubmed with the words ‘aluminium toxicity’ returns 8,691 articles (as of Sept 2023). Most of these articles have been produced since 2005. The sheer number of articles dedicated to the toxicity of aluminium does not inspire confidence in it’s safety in vaccines.
A number of the studies below show a link between aluminium and autism. The rate of autism in Ireland has risen dramatically over the last two decades – the prevalence of autism was as follows
- 2001 – 1 in 179 people according the Task Force on Autism
- 2013 – 1 in 100 people according to a DCU study
- 2016 – 1 in 65 people according to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE)
- 2023 – 1 in 32 or 3.11% according the Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion in a Dail debate
Here are some figures internationally:
- Northern Ireland: 2023 – 1 in 20 prevalence of autism in school age children (including Asperger’s Syndrome) according the Department of Health.
- USA: 2020 – 1 in 36 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
The following are a selection of studies that raise concerns about aluminium in vaccines:
New syndrome defined in 2011 linking autoimmune/inflammatory conditions to adjuvants such as aluminium
This syndrome was defined in a paper published in the Journal of Autoimmunity in 2011. It has been the topic of much research since then as a search in pubmed with the syndrome name gives 164 results (as of Sept 2023). ‘Post-vaccination phenomena’ as it is termed is one of the main categories of conditions discussed and aluminium is the most widely used adjuvant in vaccines. It is added to vaccines to aid the immune response. However as the title of this syndrome indicates, autoimmune conditions are being triggered by adjuvants such as aluminium. (Note: AI/AIFD means ‘autoimmune or auto-inflammatory disease’)
“vaccines can induce the appearances of autoantibodies, enigmatic inflammatory condition and overt autoimmune disease . Of which, non-specific manifestations such as arthritis, neuronal damage, fatigue, encephalitis and vasculitis were frequently described , . These rare events were documented in case-reports, case series, studies as well as via the CDC vaccines adverse events reporting system, weeks and even months or years following vaccination , . As such, it was difficult if not impossible to delineate a causal relationship between vaccination and the diagnosis of defined and non-defined AI/AIFD. Nevertheless, for some vaccines such a causal link was noted. In 1976 an outbreak of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) followed immunization with the “swine flu” vaccine , . Causal relationships have also been accepted for transverse myelitis following oral polio vaccine, arthritis following diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine combinations and autoimmune thrombocytopenia after MMR .”
Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders following vaccination
This study which also discusses the ASIA syndrome has a detailed discussion of autoimmune disorders following vaccination in the section titled ‘Post Vaccination Phenomena’. It includes a table showing a list of vaccines that are reported to be associated with autoimmune disorders. The following is an extract – text in square brackets after vaccine name added:
|Vaccine||Autoimmune or immune-mediated disorder|
|Hepatitis B virus||Polyneuropathy, Guillain–Barré syndrome, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, myasthenia gravis, uveitis, Henoch–Schönlein purpura, polyarteritis nodosa, erythema nodosum, lichen ruber planus, pemphigus, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, reactive arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, undifferentiated connective tissue disease, chronic fatigue syndrome|
|Diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus||Optic neuritis, Guillain–Barré syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus|
|Guillain–Barré syndrome, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, narcolepsy, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Henoch–Schönlein purpura, vasculitis, reactive arthritis|
|Measles, mumps, and rubella|
|Henoch–Schönlein purpura, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis|
|Mumps||Type 1 diabetes mellitus, Guillain–Barré syndrome|
|Swine flu||Multiple sclerosis|
|Haemophilus influenzae type b|
|Type 1 diabetes mellitus|
[Men B vaccine]
|Human papilloma virus|
|Systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, mixed connective tissue disease, Siögren’s syndrome, systemic sclerosis, dermatomyositis, vasculitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, primary ovarian failure, secondary amenorrhea, postural tachycardia orthostatic syndrome|
2014 study finds rising cumulative aluminium levels in vaccines correlate strongly to rising autism levels
The authors state that the prevalence of diagnosed autism has increased rapidly and that environmental factors are thought to be driving the increase. Their study explores a number of possible toxins. They found that aluminium does correlate with the rising level of autism:
“Other vaccine indices, including cumulative aluminum adjuvants and cumulative total number of immunizations, continue to correlate strongly with autism trends”
The paper notes that aluminium is a neurotoxin and reference studies that describe the mechanisms by which it could contribute to autism. These studies emphasise the need to study the possible interaction between Antipyretic acetaminophen (better known by the brand names Calpol or Paracetamol) and vaccines. Parents are currently advised by the HSE to give paracetamol after the 2 and 4 month visits.
“Aluminum is a demonstrated neurotoxin that can induce neuroimmune disorders and cellular oxidative stress [61, 62]. Several recent studies have described biological mechanisms by which aluminum could contribute to autism and have emphasized the need to consider the interaction of aluminum and vaccines with other pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics and the antipyretic acetaminophen [34, 63–66].“
Babies have had the largest relative increase in aluminium. Note that hepatitis B is not given at birth in Ireland but is included in the 6-in-1 given at 2, 4 and 6 months. The overall number of vaccines given in Ireland has increased from 5 vaccines before 1970 to 39 vaccines in 2023 by age 5. See table above for amounts of aluminium given in vaccines in the Irish schedule.
“The upward trend in aluminum adjuvant exposure is also notable in that very young infants have experienced the largest relative increases from the early 1980s to 2005. Newborns have seen essentially an infinite increase due to the hepatitis B birth dose, the receipt of which has been linked epidemiologically to increased autism risk , while 2 month-olds have seen about a 3-fold increase in aluminum adjuvant exposure (range 2.5 to 5.7, depending on the Al content assumed for DPT and DTaP, which varies widely among different manufacturers ) (Additional file 1: Figure S7b).“
The following chart from the study shows the cumulative aluminium plotted against the autism rates:
A 2016 study finds aluminium used in vaccines are a trigger for the development of autism
This study published in the journal Environment International underscores aluminium in vaccines in particular as an issue:
“In developed countries, it is now reported that 1%–1.5% of children have ASD, and in the US 2015 CDC reports that approximately one in 45 children suffer from ASD. Despite the intense research focus on ASD in the last decade, the underlying etiology remains unknown. Genetic research involving twins and family studies strongly supports a significant contribution of environmental factors in addition to genetic factors in ASD etiology. A comprehensive literature search has implicated several environmental factors associated with the development of ASD. These include pesticides, phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, solvents, air pollutants, fragrances, glyphosate and heavy metals, especially aluminum used in vaccines as adjuvant.“
A 2018 study finds “extraordinarily high” levels of aluminium stored in the brains of autistic individuals
Study title: Aluminium in brain tissue in autism
This study measured the amount of aluminium in the brain tissue of donors who died with a diagnosis of autism:
“Paediatric vaccines that include an aluminium adjuvant are an indirect measure of infant exposure to aluminium and their burgeoning use has been directly correlated with increasing prevalence of ASD . Animal models of ASD continue to support a connection with aluminium and to aluminium adjuvants used in human vaccinations in particular . Hitherto there are no previous reports of aluminium in brain tissue from donors who died with a diagnosis of ASD. We have measured aluminium in brain tissue in autism and identified the location of aluminium in these tissues.”
They found ‘extraordinarily high’ levels:
“We have made the first measurements of aluminium in brain tissue in ASD and we have shown that the brain aluminium content is extraordinarily high.”
Aluminium is a neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant
Study title: Aluminum vaccine adjuvants: are they safe?
“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.”
Paper calls out trials using aluminium – a known neurotoxin – in the placebo group
The study states that aluminium is a well demonstrated toxin that affects the nervous system:
“Aluminum is currently the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Toxicity and safety in regards to the use of aluminum adjuvants is highly controversial and also confused by conflicting study results. In general, it is regarded as safe by the pharmaceutical industry and the various regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, aluminum is a well demonstrated toxin in biological systems and its specific impacts on the nervous system have been widely documented.”
The author points out the issue where vaccine trials frequently use a placebo containing aluminium. This is not a valid placebo as an injection containing aluminium is not an inactive substance. This would explain why these trials have similar levels of adverse events in the ‘placebo’ group as the test group:
“The EMA restricted the aluminum content to 1.25mg per human dose.  An aluminum-containing placebo is often used while evaluating safety and efficacy of vaccine clinical trials, either containing equal or greater amount of aluminum as to the test vaccine. Without exception these trials shown a comparable rate of adverse reactions between the placebo and the test group. According to the FDA, a placebo is “an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value”. The established neurotoxic properties of aluminum therefore suggest that aluminum-containing formulations cannot serve as a valid placebo.“
Causal relationship may exist between the exposure to aluminium from vaccines and the rising prevalence of autism
“Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are serious multisystem developmental disorders and an urgent global public health concern. Dysfunctional immunity and impaired brain function are core deficits in ASD. Aluminum (Al), the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant, is a demonstrated neurotoxin and a strong immune stimulator. Hence, adjuvant Al has the potential to induce neuroimmune disorders.“
2017 Study from Journal of Metabolic Brain Disease calls for phasing out of aluminium in vaccines as soon as possible
The authors say that autism and Alzheimer’s disease are increasingly considered to be due to a combination of genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. The study puts aluminium as one of these factors – including aluminium that is added to vaccines as an adjuvant.
“The conceptualisation of autistic spectrum disorder and Alzheimer’s disease has undergone something of a paradigm shift in recent years and rather than being viewed as single illnesses with a unitary pathogenesis and pathophysiology they are increasingly considered to be heterogeneous syndromes with a complex multifactorial aetiopathogenesis, involving a highly complex and diverse combination of genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. One such environmental factor implicated as a potential cause in both syndromes is aluminium, as an element or as part of a salt, received, for example, in oral form or as an adjuvant.“
They say that some people are more genetically predisposed to suffering adverse effects from aluminium than others. They recommend that it should be phased out of vaccines as soon as possible.
“Aluminium has no known beneficial physiological action in the human body and some genetic polymorphisms predispose to a greater susceptibility to its adverse effects. Therefore, a strong case can be made for avoiding unnecessary exposure to environmental sources of aluminium salts, especially on the part of children, pregnant mothers and women of child-bearing age who may become pregnant.“
“The use of aluminium salts in medical products is a more contentious issue. While antacids are available which do not contain aluminium salts, the avoidance of immunisations which do not contain aluminium salts as adjuvants has wider political and financial implications. It would seem prudent to try to find an alternative to aluminium adjuvants as soon as possible and phase out their use.“
The journal Autoimmunity links aluminium in vaccines to numerous serious disorders
This points out the fact that there are virtually no randomised controlled trials looking at vaccines and mortality. They refer to a paper that shows that increased vaccine doses leads to increased hospitalisation and death:
“Despite the huge amount of money invested in studying vaccines, there are few observational studies and virtually no randomized clinical trials documenting the effect on mortality of any of the existing vaccines. One recent paper found an increased hospitalization rate with the increase of the number of vaccine doses and a mortality rate ratio for 5–8 vaccine doses to 1–4 vaccine doses of 1.5, indicating a statistically significant increase of deaths associated with higher vaccine doses.“
Aluminium may trigger autoimmunity and affect Central Nervous System
Aluminium has been shown to impact the Central Nervous System – even changing gene expression:
“In spite of a common view that aluminum (Al) salts are inert and therefore harmless as vaccine adjuvants or in immunotherapy, the reality is quite different. In the following article we briefly review the literature on Al neurotoxicity and the use of Al salts as vaccine adjuvants and consider not only direct toxic actions on the nervous system, but also the potential impact for triggering autoimmunity. Autoimmune and inflammatory responses affecting the CNS appear to underlie some forms of neurological disease, including developmental disorders. Al has been demonstrated to impact the CNS at every level, including by changing gene expression.“
Simultaneous vaccines can lead to permanent alterations of the brain and immune function according to a paper in 2012
The author of this article published in Journal Lupus 2012 points out the high number of antigens (weakened or inactivated parts of the viruses or other organisms) that babies and young children get along with high amounts of aluminium. Concerningly, these vaccines have not been tested for toxicity:
“In some developed countries, by the time children are 4 to 6 years old, they will have received a total of 126 antigenic compounds along with high amounts of aluminum (Al) adjuvants through routine vaccinations. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, safety assessments for vaccines have often not included appropriate toxicity studies because vaccines have not been viewed as inherently toxic. Taken together, these observations raise plausible concerns about the overall safety of current childhood vaccination programs.”
They call for urgent safety testing:
“In summary, research evidence shows that increasing concerns about current vaccination practices may indeed be warranted. Because children may be most at risk of vaccine-induced complications, a rigorous evaluation of the vaccine-related adverse health impacts in the pediatric population is urgently needed.”
Small doses of aluminium hydroxide causes accumulation in the brain and neurotoxic effects:
The Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine given in Ireland contains aluminium hydroxide and aluminium phosphate (see section on ingredients). This 2017 study published in the toxicology journal found that the aluminium can accumulate in the brain long term and have neurotoxic effects:
“Aluminium (Al) oxyhydroxide (Alhydrogel®), the main adjuvant licensed for human and animal vaccines, consists of primary nanoparticles that spontaneously agglomerate. Concerns about its safety emerged following recognition of its unexpectedly long-lasting biopersistence within immune cells in some individuals, and reports of chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive dysfunction, myalgia, dysautonomia and autoimmune/inflammatory features temporally linked to multiple Al-containing vaccine administrations.”
“We conclude that Alhydrogel® injected at low dose in mouse muscle may selectively induce long-term Al cerebral accumulation and neurotoxic effects.“