There has been a lot of talk about people believing that vaccines are not safe or necessary. There is also a belief that vaccines cause autism. This could not be further from the truth. The United States’ Center for Disease Control has a long-running vaccine safety program and closely monitors the safety of vaccines. Part of the program identifies possible side effects and conducts studies to determine the health problems that could be caused by vaccines.
Scientists ensure the safety of vaccines by conducting the following types of studies”
- Clinical trials are studies conducted before a vaccine is made available. These studies are carried out by vaccine manufacturers and help the FDA make decisions about if it is safe, effective and ready to be licensed for use.
- Studies, after it is licensed, are conducted after a vaccine is approved by the FDA and made available to the public. These studies continue to monitor vaccine safety and often include groups that are often underrepresented in clinical trials. These studies look for rare adverse reactions.
Vaccines and Autism
Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the environment, and the most abundant metal, and is found diffusely in soil, water, plants, and air. It is found in a variety of consumer products, as well as throughout the human food chain, and in many pharmaceuticals. In vaccines, aluminum is used as an adjuvant, a component that boosts immune response to the vaccine antigens. When adjuvants are used, they allow for smaller amounts of vaccine to be given, as well as fewer doses. Aluminum has been used in a variety of vaccines, including hepatitis A and B, H. influenzae type b, and pneumococcal vaccines.
As a vaccine component, aluminum has been extensively tested for safety as part of pre-licensure clinical trials. We know from studies examining the aluminum exposure of infants that the cumulative amount of aluminum from vaccines in the first 6 months of life is actually far less than that received from dietary sources, including both breast milk and formula . Both sources represent far less exposure than that represented by a regulatory minimal risk level (MRL), which is established by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The safety of aluminum salts from vaccines, and from other sources, has also been established in studies examining blood and hair levels of aluminum in infants, and associated neurodevelopmental outcomes . Such studies have not proven a link between blood and hair concentrations of aluminum and receipt of vaccines, nor between blood and hair aluminum concentrations and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
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