Healthcare/Biosafety

Aluminum Used in Vaccines Poses no Health Risks

7 April, 2021

On April 3, Facebook user Mamuka Karchkhadze uploaded a video, in which Christopher Shaw, a Canadian neuroscientist, talks about the impact of aluminum used in vaccines on the nervous system. Speaking about the experiments on mice, the Canadian professor claimed that aluminum injections led to motor deficits and created favorable conditions for the development of Alzheimer's disease in the future. The caption accompanying the video – “Canadian doctor’s brief explanation about so called vaccines” – leaves an impression that he talks about the COVID-19 vaccines.

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The claim as if aluminum used in vaccines is harmful to health and cause Alzheimer's disease is false. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established a Tolerable Weekly Intake (TWI) of 1 milligram of aluminum per kilogram of body weight. One dose of vaccine contains only 0,5 milligram of aluminum. The majority of COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aluminum. 

Why is aluminum used in vaccines and is it harmful to health? 
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, aluminum adjuvants have been used in vaccines since the 1930s. Aluminum salts act as adjuvants, strengthening and lengthening the immune response to the vaccine. Aluminum compounds attract and activate immune cells at the site of injection. Activated cells begin to produce different molecules that contribute to the formation of immunity. Due to these processes, redness, swelling at the injection site as well as fever can occur after an injection. These active protein molecules break down rapidly and are released from the body through various types of secretions. “From a biochemical point of view, there is not much difference in how aluminum enters the body - with food, personal care products or injection - in any case, it enters the circulatory system and therefore, the claim as if the metal received as a result of vaccination is especially dangerous and accumulates in the body is not true,” Professor Aurelia Zvirblene of Vilnius University notes

Dr. Christopher Gill, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Boston University School of Public Health said that it is false to suggest that the aluminum in vaccines is the cause of significant health problems. The safety of aluminum adjuvants “has been researched extensively, and there are no harmful effects detectable,” he added. “It’s also far less than the amount of aluminum we expose ourselves to from things we eat, drink and touch on a daily basis,” according to Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and director of the Vaccine Education Center. 

The majority of COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aluminum
Aluminum is not an ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States - Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Neither does AstraZeneca vaccine contain aluminum. Only Chinese vaccines - CoronaVac and Sinopharm – contain aluminum; however, the amount of aluminum in these vaccines is not harmful to health.

Aluminum adjuvants are used in vaccines against hepatitis A and B, human papillomavirus infection and poliomyelitis, tetanus, diphtheria and DTaP.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines containing adjuvants are tested for safety and effectiveness in clinical trials before they are licensed for use in the United States, and they are continuously monitored by CDC and FDA once they are approved.

Who is Canadian doctor Christopher Shaw? Christopher Shaw is a Canadian neuroscientist, who is the author of several controversial studies about vaccine side effects, including two papers released in 2011 ("Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?" "Aluminum vaccine adjuvants: are they safe?), regarding the effect of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. The World Health Organization’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety has criticized both papers calling them “seriously flawed.” According to the World Health Organization, the studies provide no evidence of a causal link between vaccines and rising autism rates.


By Ani Kistauri


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