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|The major ingredient of any vaccine is a killed or weakened form of the disease organism the vaccine is designed to prevent. In addition, vaccines can contain:|
- Preservatives Used in U.S. Licensed Vaccines (FDA)
- Thimerosal Content in Currently Manufactured U.S. Licensed Vaccines (FDA)
- Stabilizers: Keeps vaccines safe and effective under different conditions and/or temperatures. Examples include gelatin, albumin, MSG, glycine and lactose-sorbitol.
- Remnants from manufacturing: Chemicals that are used during the vaccine manufacturing process and then removed from the final product. For example, formalin might be used to kill a vaccine virus, or antibiotics might be used to prevent bacterial contamination. When these chemicals are removed, a tiny trace may remain. The “package insert” that comes with each vial of vaccine lists all the contents of the vaccine and explains why each substance is there. Examples include formaldehyde, antibiotics, or egg and yeast protein.
Read the CDC's Parent's Guide to Childhood Immunizations to learn more.
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