The Toxicity of Aluminium Adjuvants

It would seem that I am a rare breed. I research the safety of aluminium adjuvants used in vaccines (See; Safety concerns around aluminium adjuvants). In doing so, I acknowledge that not all vaccines that include an aluminium adjuvant are completely safe for all recipients. This is not an opinion that is openly shared by Government or those whose immediate responsibility is the health of neonates and infants.

The amount of aluminium in a vaccine is miniscule

For example, a prominent paediatrician and head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, when asked by The Sunday Times (07/04/2019) about the toxicity of aluminium adjuvants in paediatric vaccines dismissed the possibility of toxicity with the pronouncement that “the amount of aluminium in a vaccine is miniscule” and especially, they went on to add, with respect to aluminium in the infant’s diet. This individual like most of his peers has no relevant expertise to make such a pronouncement, no understanding of the bioinorganic chemistry of aluminium at all, and yet he is happy to dismiss the possibility that an aluminium adjuvant might be toxic. At best, we can assume that he is content to share his misinformation out of ignorance. In giving him the benefit of the doubt, it should be helpful to provide him with a scientific analysis (a non-expert’s guide) of this issue.

an aluminium-adjuvanted vaccine such as Infanrix Hexa… …delivers 50 times more aluminium to the systemic circulation of an infant

In this respect, I decided to apply some science to his bold statement that the amount of aluminium in a vaccine is ‘miniscule’ and hence of no safety concern. The result of my investigation is published as a Commentary (An aluminium adjuvant in a vaccine is an acute exposure to aluminium ) in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. I tested the paediatrician’s bold statement by looking at just one injection of one vaccine, Infanrix Hexa, administered on day 56 of an infant’s life. I compared this single, one-off exposure to aluminium (which should be considered as conservative in comparison to an infant’s actual exposure to aluminium in vaccines) with exposure through an infant’s diet, breast milk or infant formula. The latter, is of course a significant route of exposure of infants to aluminium (Aluminium in infant formula). The result is unequivocal; an aluminium-adjuvanted vaccine such as Infanrix Hexa is an acute exposure to aluminium. It is acute in respect of immediate toxicity at the vaccine injection site and it is acute in that it delivers 50 times more aluminium to the systemic circulation of an infant than is possible through daily exposure in breast milk.

I hope that this information will be invaluable to paediatricians. When asked by parents and other interested parties paediatricians will no longer need to equate the aluminium content of a vaccine as ‘miniscule’. In fact, taking into account that an infant in the United Kingdom will receive three aluminium-adjuvanted vaccines on day 56 of their life (Infanrix Hexa, Prevenar, Men B), paediatricians charged with the health of infants might like to reconsider whether serious adverse events following vaccination might be avoided through changes in the vaccination schedule.


Professor Chris Exley: Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry Keele University Honorary Professor, UHI Millennium Institute Group Leader - Bioinorganic Chemistry Laboratory at Keele

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