Aluminum in Vaccines: A Re[Al]ity Check

“Does that have aluminum in it?” My patient asks. She practically spits out the word, aluminum. I have just finished cleaning the dog bites on both her hands, and I am much more concerned about what bacteria are in her wounds than the adjuvant in the TDaP booster I’ve just brought into the treatment room. “It does, yes. But it’s a tiny amount and is nothing compared to the aluminum you eat every day in your food.” I reply. “But… isn’t aluminum toxic?” she asks. “At very high and chronic doses, yes, but the amount in a vaccine is totally negligible.” I try to reassure her. I can tell she is not buying it, but we have discussed the importance of a booster given her current injury. She is fearful of tetanus (with good reason), and she was already overdue for a booster, so she decides to get the shot. But I can see that she’s still hesitant. I finish bandaging her hands and we leave the room. Like many patients with bite wounds, she takes the recommended prophylactic antibiotics without any question of risks/benefits, which I will always find somewhat ironic. I understand it. Injections are not  fun. They … Continue reading Aluminum in Vaccines: A Re[Al]ity Check