Exley C: An aluminium adjuvant in a vaccine is an acute exposure to aluminium
Below is a an article from Professor Christopher Exley, expert in Aluminum’s effect on the human body.
To appear in: Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
This is a pdf of the full Exley Commentary that has undergone enhancements after acceptance, such as the addition of a cover page and metadata, and formatting for readability, but it is not yet the definitive version of record.
This version will undergo additional copyediting, typesetting and review before it is published in its final form, but we are providing this version to give early visibility of the article. Please note that, during the production process, errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.
Exley C, An aluminium adjuvant in a vaccine is an acute exposure to aluminium, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology (2019), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2019.09.010
1. Introduction – Aluminium salts are common adjuvants in vaccines given to children. Their physical, chemical and biological properties have recently been reviewed.
However, a debate continues as to whether neonate and infant exposure to aluminium through vaccination is biologically significant with respect to their exposure to aluminium through other routes and especially diet. For example, paediatricians, responsible for administering the vaccine schedule for children, seem in particular, to be uninformed about the properties of aluminium adjuvants and their mode of action in vaccines.
This apparent ignorance of the published scientific literature is unexpected in those charged with the wellbeing of neonates and infants and especially in the light of Janeway’s description of alum adjuvant as ‘the immunologist’s dirty little secret’.
Paediatricians such as recently (07/04/2019) Andrew Pollard in The Sunday Times, have a habit of reverting to pure ‘baby talk’ when for example, describing how much aluminium is present in an infant vaccine.
They use terms such as ‘minuscule’ and ‘teeny-weeny’ to tell anyone, who asks, how little aluminium there is in a vaccine. They usually then proceed to compare the amount of aluminium in a vaccine with the amount of aluminium in (an adult’s) diet.
There are, of course, more accurate, understandable ways to inform parents and other interested parties how much aluminium is present in a vaccine, and I shall endeavour to achieve this herein. An appreciation of how much aluminium is present in a single injection of a vaccine is critical to understanding how aluminium adjuvants are effective in stimulating the immune response.
2. How much aluminium is found in vaccines?
Currently about 20 childhood vaccines include an aluminium adjuvant. Vaccine industry literature (for example here) expresses the aluminium content of an individual vaccine as an amount (weight) of aluminium (not aluminium salt) per unit volume of a vaccine (usually 0.5 mL).
Industry does this to account for the fact that there are no strict molecular weights for the polymeric aluminium salts that are used as adjuvants in vaccinations. They prepare acid digests of the adjuvants and measure their total aluminium using ICP MS. This is not explained in the literature they provide with vaccines and can cause confusion for some as the actual weight of hydrated aluminium salt (e.g. aluminium oxyhydroxide, aluminium hydroxyphosphate and aluminium hydroxyphosphatesulphate) in any vaccine preparation is actually approximately ten fold higher. The aluminium salt is the major component of a vaccine (after water) and its high content is why vaccine preparations are invariably cloudy in appearance.
As an example, GlaxoSmithKline’s Infanrix Hexa vaccine is reported by the manufacturer to contain 0.82 mg of aluminium per vaccine (0.5 mL). Thus, the weight of aluminium salt in this vaccine is approximately 8 mg, which is approximately ten times the weight of all of the other components of the vaccine when combined.
An aluminium-adjuvanted vaccine is essentially a very high concentration of an aluminium salt (8 mg/0.5 mL or 16 mg/mL or 16 g/L) in which just a small part of other vaccine components including antigens and other excipients are occluded.
The full Exley Commentary here.
December 1, 2019
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