CDC-Centres for Disease Control

Extract from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm

“Additives used in the production of vaccines may include

  1. suspending fluid (e.g. sterile water, saline, or fluids containing protein);

  2. preservatives and stabilizers to help the vaccine remain unchanged (e.g. albumin, phenols, and glycine); and

  3. adjuvants or enhancers to help the vaccine to be more effective.

Common substances found in vaccines include:

  • Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum which are added as adjuvants to help the vaccine stimulate a better response. Adjuvants help promote an earlier, more potent response, and more persistent immune response to the vaccine.

  • Antibiotics which are added to some vaccines to prevent the growth of germs (bacteria) during production and storage of the vaccine. No vaccine produced in the United States contains penicillin.

  • Egg protein is found in yellow fever and most influenza vaccines, which are prepared using chicken eggs. Ordinarily, persons who are able to eat eggs or egg products safely can receive these vaccines.

  • Formaldehyde is used to inactivate bacterial products for toxoid vaccines, (these are vaccines that use an inactive bacterial toxin to produce immunity.) It is also used to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production. Most formaldehyde is removed from the vaccine before it is packaged.

  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-phenoxy-ethanol which are used as stabilizers in a few vaccines to help the vaccine remain unchanged when the vaccine is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity.

  • Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative that is added to vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose to prevent contamination and growth of potentially harmful bacteria.”