Q:

Are you aware of any vaccines that contain peanut oil as an excipient? I have a patient who insists that some vaccines contain peanut oil and that is why the prevalence of peanut allergy has continued to rise.

A:

Thank you for your recent inquiry.

The issue of peanut antigen in vaccines, at least according to my assessment of the reading material available, is similar to the issue of adverse effects of mercury in vaccines. It seems to be fueled by consumer message boards and consumer-oriented websites. These websites and consumer message boards, as best I can tell, claim that small amounts of peanut allergen contaminate vaccines and are not listed as an ingredient in the package insert. I personally have not been able to find any confirmation in the medical literature of contamination of vaccines by peanut antigen.

For your interest, I have copied below several links to consumer websites and message boards that discuss this issue. However, as previously noted, I am not aware of any documentation in the medical literature of the contamination of vaccines by peanut antigen.

Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.

Links:
http://the-health-gazette.com/830/peanut-allergy-vaccinations-link-consumer-concerns/

http://www.vaccinetruth.org/peanut_oil.htm

http://www.peanutallergy.com/boards/general-discussion/main-discussion-board/peanut-allergy-and-the-role-of-vaccination

http://vactruth.com/2010/07/15/non-disclosed-hyper-allergenic-vaccine-adjuvant/

http://www.justmommies.com/forums/f325-choosing-not-to-vaccinate/2056158-peanut-oil-vaccines.html

Sincerely,
Phil Lieberman, M.D.

Additional comment:

On the page titled "Is peanut antigen in vaccines," a reader might be give the mistaken impression that information about adjuvants in vaccines is unavailable. However, information about vaccine ingredients is readily available to the public, and while research into using peanut oil as an adjuvant was done in the 1960s, this ingredient has never been included in vaccines.

Furthermore, the Federal Code of Regulations has clear and unbending standards when it comes to biologicals: all adjuvants must be listed, as well as any other ingredient that has safety concerns (such as potential allergic reaction). [See CFR Title 21 pertaining to biologicals].

Dr. Lieberman was correct to source the origin of this misguided information from forums and message boards. However, I am concerned that providing links to such forums furthers misinformation. Casual readers and parents may chance upon these forums, having been given no reassurance that vaccines do not contain peanut allergens, and may find themselves frightened away from immunizing their children, leaving them unprotected from preventable diseases. To add to that, some of the links go directly to well known anti-vaccine sites where parents will find only misinformation about vaccines written by people whose purpose is to frighten parents away from immunizing their children. I implore you to remove all of those links

Sources on the internet providing reassurances about the potential of allergic reaction to vaccines and the ingredients in them abound. The CDC, for example, states: "Aluminum gels or aluminum salts are the only vaccine adjuvants currently licensed for use in the United States". I would ask that you provide such links to assure parents of children with peanut allergies that they can safely vaccinate their children.  

More information about adjuvants can be found here.

Thank you for all that you do to provide good information and advocacy from those suffering from allergies and asthma. I hope that my feedback can help you build a stronger website.

Sincerely,
Karen Ernst

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology