Vaccines Side Effects & Ingredients

What are the risks associated with vaccines?

Every year the Centers for Disease Control receives about 30,000 reports of vaccine reactions. About 2000 of these adverse reactions are categorized as serious, causing a prolonged hospital stay, a permanent disability, or death. The following side effects are listed in the vaccine manufacturer’s Product Insert or the CDC Vaccine Information Statements. Additionally, the ingredients can be found detailed in the Product Inserts.


Click here to view FDA Vaccine Product Inserts

Hepatitis B Vaccine

The CDC recommends all infants receive 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine starting on the day of birth.

Reported side effects include: fever, poor feeding, lethargy, irritability, headache, fatigue, joint and body aches, anaphylactic allergic reactions, worsening of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms, vascular inflammation, onset of Lupus and other autoimmune disorders, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (a severe allergic reaction involving skin and internal organs), heart palpitations, asthma attacks, minor liver damage, bleeding from low platelets counts, eczema, bruising, hair loss, eye inflammation, vertigo, ringing in the ears, migraines, nerve and muscle weakness or paralysis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, spinal cord inflammation, seizures, optic nerve inflammation, and multiple sclerosis.

Ingredients in the vaccine include: Hepatitis B surface antigen (the proteins on the outer shell of the virus), aluminum (250 micrograms), saline, yeast proteins, phosphate, and formaldehyde (depending on brand).

*All 3 doses are now mandated for Kindergarten school entry in California.

The brand names are Recombivax HB and Engerix-B. Hepatitis B vaccine is also in the combination brand Pediarix.

 

DTaP Vaccine

The CDC recommends 5 doses of DTaP vaccine (Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis) are given between 2 months and 5 years of age. A 6th dose of this vaccine is recommended at age 12 as the Tdap vaccine.

Reported side effects include: pain, redness, swelling, or a nodule at the injection site, fever, poor appetite, sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, body aches, rash, non-stop crying for three or more hours (indicates encephalitis), febrile seizures, grand mal seizures, long-term seizures, fever greater than 105 degrees, anaphylactic shock, brain injury, coma, Guillain-Barré syndrome, brachial neuritis (dysfunction of the nerves in the arm), cyanosis, extensive swelling of the injected limb and nearby joints, cellulitis (skin infection), abscess, hypotonic-hyporesponsive episode (shock), hypotonia, bronchitis, pneumonia, lymph node swelling, bleeding from low platelet counts, encephalopathy (permanent brain damage), apnea, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Additional reactions reported after the Tdap vaccines include nausea, abdominal pain, severe migraine, nerve compression in the neck, diabetes, heart inflammation, facial nerve dysfunction, inflammation of the spinal cord, and Henoch-Schonlein purpura (severe bruising and kidney dysfunction).

Ingredients in the vaccine include: proteins and toxin elements from the pertussis germs, toxin components from tetanus and diphtheria, aluminum (between 330 and 650 micrograms, depending on the brand), saline, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, 2-phenoxyethanol, and polysorbate 80.

Brand names are Infanrix, Daptacel, and Tripedia. DTaP vaccine is also in the combination brands Pediarix, Pentacel, and Quadracel. Tdap brand names are Adacel and Boostrix.

*Some plain Tetanus vaccines and DT/Td vaccines (Diphtheria and Tetanus, without Pertussis also contain mercury.

 

Hib Vaccine

The CDC recommends 4 doses of Hib vaccine between 2 and 15 months.

Reported side effects include: redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site, high fevers, swollen lymph nodes, anaphylactic shock, febrile seizures, abscess, extensive swelling of the injected limb, grand mal seizures, hypotonic-hyporesponsive epidose (shock), sleepiness, fainting, apnea, hives, and rash.

Ingredients in the vaccine include: sugars from the Hib germs bonded to either tetanus toxoid or meningococcal proteins (to help induce a better immune response), aluminum (225 micrograms in the Merck brand only), saline, sucrose or lactose sugar, and formaldehyde.

Brand names are ActHIB, PedvaxHIB, and Hiberix. Hib vaccine is also in the combination Pediacel.

 

Pneumococcal Vaccine

The CDC recommends 4 doses of PC vaccine between 2 and 15 months.

Reported side effects include: fever, poor appetite, sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, body aches, rash, pain and swelling at the injection site in about 50% of people. Fussiness or irritability are reported in 80%. Other side effects include pneumonia, wheezing, severe allergic reactions, febrile seizure lymph node swelling, anaphylactic shock, angioneurotic edema (severe, painful swelling), and apnea.

Ingredients in the vaccine include: sugars from the outer shell of the germ bonded to diphtheria toxoid proteins, aluminum (125 micrograms), polysorbate 80, and succinate.

Brand names are Prevnar and Prevnar 13.

 

Rotavirus Vaccine

The CDC recommends the oral liquid Rotavirus vaccine in 2 or 3 doses between 2 and 6 months (depending on the brand).

Reported side effects include: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, poor feeding, irritability, Kawasaki disease (a severe autoimmune reaction that affects the immune and cardiovascular systems), intussusception (severe intestinal blockage that may require emergency surgery), bloody stools, bleeding problems from low platelet counts, and hives.

Ingredients in the vaccine vary significantly between the two brands: Merck’s RotaTeq vaccine includes five strains of live Rotavirus germs grown in monkey kidney cells (called VERO cells), sucrose, sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, and sodium hydroxide, polysorbate 80, traces of fetal cow blood (nourishes the VERO cells), and DNA from circovirus (a pig virus which contaminates an enzyme used in vaccine manufacturing). GSK’s Rotarix brand contains a single strain of the live virus grown in VERO cells, sucrose, dextran, sorbitol, amino acids, a solution of vitamins/minerals/phenol red, calcium carbonate, xanthum gum, water, and circovirus DNA.

Brand names are Rotarix and RotaTeq.

 

Polio Vaccine

The CDC recommends 4 doses of Polio vaccine between 2 months and 5 years of age.

Reported side effects include: redness, swelling, pain, or mass at the injection site, allergic reaction, anaphylactic shock, fever, poor appetite, sleepiness, irritability, crying, vomiting, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, lymphadenopathy, joint and muscle aches, febrile seizures, grand mal seizures, numbness, and sleepiness.

Ingredients in the vaccine include: three strains of the virus (inactivated so it isn’t live), saline, vitamins, amino acids, sucrose, glutamate, human albumin (blood proteins filtered out of donated human blood), 2-phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, three antibiotics, and calf serum.

Brand name is IPOL. Polio vaccine is also in the combinations Pediacel and Pediarix.

 

MMR Vaccine

The CDC recommends 2 doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella combo vaccine at 1 year and 5 years of age.

Reported side effects include: measles infection, mumps infection, rubella infection, pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site, fever, rash, encephalitis, encephalopathy (permanent brain damage), fainting, headache, dizziness, body aches, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, parotid gland swelling (in the cheeks) lymph node swelling, arthritis reaction (in about 3% of children and 12 to 26% of teen and adult women: varies from mild and temporary to permanent and severe), coma, febrile seizures, long-term seizures, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, ataxia, multiple nerve dysfunction, aseptic meningitis, deafness, vision loss, testicular swelling, bleeding problems from low platelet counts, panniculitis (tender and inflamed skin nodules, fatigue, weight loss), vasculitis, inflammation of the pancreas, diabetes, elevated white blood cell counts, anaphylactic shock, hives, muscle inflammation, pneumonia, and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (severe allergic reaction involving the skin and internal organs).

Ingredients in the vaccine include: the three live viruses (the rubella virus was harvested from an infected aborted baby back in the 1960s), saline solution, sugar, gelatin, synthetic albumin proteins (was human blood albumin until 2007), cow fetus serum, neomycin (antibiotic), chick embryo proteins, proteins and DNA from the human fetal lung cells used to nourish the viruses during manufacturing.

Brand name is MMR II. MMR vaccine is also in the combination ProQuad.

 

Varicella (chicken pox) Vaccine

The CDC recommends 2 doses of chicken pox vaccine at 1 and 5 years of age. (It is also given to the elderly as the shingles vaccine).

Reported side effects include: pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site, fever, febrile seizures, bleeding from low platelet counts, chicken pox-like rash, chicken pox infection, body aches, irritability, fatigue, intestinal symptoms, headache, pneumonitis (lung inflammation), encephalitis, stroke, spinal cord, inflammation and dysfunction, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, facial nerve paralysis, dizziness, loss of coordination, grand mal seizures, meningitis, pneumonia, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, bacterial skin and tissue infections, and shingles.

An additional side effect reported during initial safety studies of the shingles vaccine in the elderly is a 10 to 25% higher rate of heart failure or heart attack within one month of vaccination compared to placebo.

Ingredients in the vaccine include: the live virus, sucrose, saline, gelatin, MSG, potassium, DNA and proteins from the human fetal cells used to nourish the virus during manufacturing, EDTA, Neomycin, and fetal cow serum.

*The combination MMR/Chicken pox vaccine (MMRV – ProQuad, by Merck) lists two ingredient changes which vary from the individual vaccines: 1. The combo shot contains ten times the amount of chicken pox virus than the separate formulations, 2. The combo utilizes human blood albumin instead of synthetic albumin.

Brand name is Varivax. Varicella vaccine is also in the combination ProQuad.

 

Flu Vaccine

The CDC recommends yearly doses of the flu vaccine for every person every year starting at 6 months of age.

Reported side effects include: flu-like symptoms, pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, irritability, fever, febrile seizures, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, drowsiness, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, anaphylactic shock, bleeding from low platelet counts, swollen lymph nodes, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, encephalopathy, nerve dysfunction in the eyes, face, or arm, fainting, dizziness, inflammation of the blood vessels, shortness of breath, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, chest pain, body aches, fatigue, rapid heart rate, eye infection, eye redness and swelling, tonsillitis, asthma flare up, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, difficulty swallowing, muscle tightness, abnormal gait, arthritis, tremors, and limb paralysis.

(There are over a dozen different brands of injected flu vaccine and detailing exact ingredients for each is beyond the scope of this section). The ingredients most commonly utilized in the majority of flu vaccines include: 3 to 4 strains of flu viruses which are killed and split open, saline, egg proteins, formaldehyde, mercury (in about half of the flu vaccines, those that come in a 10-dose vial), and antibiotics. In addition, every flu vaccine contains three or four of the following chemicals: octoxynol-10, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 20, sodium deoxycholate, octylphenol ethoxylate, betapropiolactone, nonylphenol ethoxylate, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, sodium taurodeoxycholate, MF59 (a squalene-based adjuvant), sorbitan trioleate, barium, and Triton X-100.

The live-virus nasal spray contains 4 strains of live flu virus, egg, MSG, pig gelatin, amino acids, potassium sucrose, and an antibiotic.

Brand names are Fluzone, Fluarix, FluLaval, FluMist, Afluria, Agriflu, Fluad, Flublok, Flucelvax, and Fluvirin.

 

Hepatitis A Vaccine

The CDC recommends 2 doses of Hep A vaccine for all babies at 12 and 18 months of age.

Reported side effects include: pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, seizures, bleeding problems from low platelet counts, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, encephalitis, difficulty walking, dizziness, anaphylactic shock, allergic reactions, encephalopathy, multiple sclerosis, various nerve dysfunctions, spinal cord inflammation, fainting, vasculitis, shortness of breath, hepatitis, jaundice, rashes, flu-like symptoms, and muscle stiffness.

Ingredients in the vaccine include: the hep A viruses (whole but killed), aluminum (225 micrograms), saline, proteins and DNA from human fetal cells, cow blood proteins, formaldehyde, sodium borate, 2-phenoxyethanol, amino acids, Polysorbate 20, and antibiotics.

Brand names are Havrix and Vaqta.

 

Meningococcal Vaccine

The CDC recommends 2 doses of MC vaccine at 12 and 16 years of age for all children.

Reported side effects include: pain, swelling, and redness at the injection, headache, fatigue, facial nerve dysfunction, spinal cord inflammation and dysfunction, general ill feeling, joint aches, drowsiness, irritability, loss of appetite, fever, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, anaphylactic shock, allergic reactions, fainting, encephalitis, and muscle aches.

Ingredients in the vaccine include: sugars from the outer shell of the meningococcus germ bonded to diphtheria toxin, saline, and formaldehyde.

Brand names are Menactra, Menomune, and Menveo.

 

HPV Vaccine

The CDC recommends 3 doses of Human Papillomavirus vaccine at 11 or 12 years of age.

Reported side effects include: pain, redness, and swelling in most people (severe in about 10%), headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, premature menopause in young adult women, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, hives, fainting, numerous autoimmune reactions (such as autoimmune arthritis, thyroiditis, optic nerve and eye inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and multiple sclerosis), birth defects (if given while pregnant), bleeding from low platelet counts, lymph glad swelling, pulmonary embolism, pancreatitis, chills, fatigue, mild allergic reactions, anaphylactic shock, joint and muscle aches, encephalitis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, nerve dysfunction, paralysis, seizures, fainting with seizures, spinal cord inflammation and dysfunction, severe swelling of a limb, and blood clots in the limbs.

Ingredients in the vaccine vary significantly between the two brands: Gardasil (by Merck) contains proteins from the outer shell of 4 strains of HPV, aluminum (225 micrograms), saline, amino acids, Polysorbate 80, sodium borate, yeast proteins, and water.

*The updated version of Gardasil, called Gardasil 9, has the same ingredients except that it contains 9 strains of HPV proteins and has twice the amount of aluminum (500 micrograms).
*Cervarix brand (GlaxoSmithKline) contains proteins from two strains of HPV, 173 micrograms of aluminum, 3-O-desacyl-4′-monophosphoryl lipid A, saline, sodium dihydrogen phosphate dehydrate, insect cell proteins, and baculovirus proteins (used in manufacturing).

Brand names are Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix.

 


Sources:

To review the CDC Vaccine Information Statements for yourself, click here http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/index.html

Click here to view FDA Vaccine Product Inserts