Disclosure statement Ian Musgrave receives funding from the Australian Research Council, going To Panic – Handsome – Handsome has previously been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Some of this funding was to investigate treatments for neurodegenerative disease.
Ian received some pertussis toxin for free from CSL in 1986-1987 to investigate signal transduction. The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members. Vaccination is one of the most important preventative measures against serious illness, but its very success may be working against it. With parents no longer having the experience of the devastating diseases it prevents, fear of vaccines has crept in, aided and abetted by groups that exaggerate and distort their possible harms. Vaccination effectiveness in combating preventable diseases in Australia. Figure used with permission from 2012 The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers, Australian Academy of Science.
One contributor to the fear of vaccines is the notion that they contain toxins. Formaldehyde is used in vaccine preparation to kill viruses or inactivate the proteins used. And traces of it can be found in some vaccines. Now, while drinking embalming fluid concentrations of formaldehyde is seriously bad for you, the amount present in vaccines never exceed 0.
To put this in perspective, every time you eat an apple, you are eating between one and six milligram of formaldehyde. You also make formaldehyde as part of your normal metabolism. It’s an essential part of the synthesis of amino acids and some of the components of DNA. At any given time, you have something like 2. 5 mg of formaldehyde in every litre of your blood.
This formaldehyde is being continuously generated as the enzyme formaldehyde dehydrogenase rapidly breaks it down. A typical two-month-old child has around 1. 1 mg of formaldehyde in its body from normal metabolism, ten times more than the maximum possible dose she could get from vaccines. And less than what she would ingest from mashed apples. Thiomersal Thiomersal is the preservative ethylmercurithiosalicylate, which breaks down to produce ethyl mercury. But most of us of a certain age remember Mercurochrome, which was used as an antiseptic on cuts and grazes, turning our knees and elbows red – mercury is also a powerful antibacterial. Multi-use vials are used during epidemics when there’s a need to produce a lot of vaccine in a hurry and you can’t afford to make it in single-use vials.