Should we choose our vaccine schedule based on aluminum?

If you are worried about aluminum in your child’s vaccines, you can ask your doctor which brand of certain vaccines he or she carries.

For example, the Infanrix brand of the DTaP vaccine contains 625 micrograms of aluminum, while the Daptacel brand only contains 330 and the Tripedia brand only contains 170. As for the HiB vaccines, the ActHiB brand contains no aluminum, while the PedVaxHiB contains 225 micrograms.

Armed with this information, you might make certain decisions about the vaccine schedule. For example, you might decide against Pediarix, with 850 micrograms, and instead choose a hepatitis B vaccine with less aluminum. The drawback would be that you are using three needles instead of just one for the combination vaccine.

In addition, Tripedia, the DTaP vaccine that contains the least aluminum, still has a trace (less than 0.3 micrograms) of thimerosal in it. If you wanted to use Daptacel instead, you would be trading off 0.3 micrograms of ethylmercury for an additional 160 micrograms of aluminum.

Another choice might be to avoid giving two aluminum-containing vaccines on the same day. This would force you to come back for extra visits to stay on schedule. It might be tedious, but minimizing the amount of aluminum your child receives in a day might be worth it for you.

Our recommendation is that your child should receive all the vaccines using whatever schedule makes you feel most comfortable. While we prefer and recommend the simplicity of the CDC schedule, we will work with the families in our practice to accommodate them in whatever way works best for them, with the final goal of achieving complete vaccination for their child.

Aluminum in Vaccines

Vaccine Type Brand Name Micrograms of
Aluminum
DTaP . . . . . . . Daptacel . . . . . . . . . 330
DTaP . . . . . . . Infanrix . . . . . . . . . . 625
DTaP . . . . . . . Tripedia . . . . . . . . . . 170
DTaP/Hepatitis
B/Polio. . . . . . Pediarix . . . . . . . . . . 850
DTaP/HiB/Polio . Pentacel . . . . . . . . . 330
Hepatitis A . . . Havrix, Adult . . . . . . . 500
Hepatitis A . . . Havrix, Pediatric . . . . . 250
Hepatitits A . . . Vaqta, Adult . . . . . . . 450
Hepatitis A . . . Vaqta, Pediatric . . . . . 225
Hepatitis B . . . Engerix, Adult . . . . . . . 500
Hepatitis B . . . Engerix, Pediatric. . . . . 250
Hepatitis B . . . Recombivax, Adult . . . 500
Hepatitis B . . . Recombivax, Pediatric . 250
Hepatitis B/HiB . Comvax. . . . . . . . . . 225
HiB . . . . . . . . PedVaxHib . . . . . . . . 225
Tetanus/Diphtheria. . . . Decavac . . . . . . . . . 280
Tetanus/Diphtheria. . . . DT (pediatric) . . . . . . . 170

The following vaccines have no aluminum listed in their ingredients: HiB (ActHIB brand), influenza (all brands), meningococcal (Menactra and Menomune brands), MMR, varicella/chickenpox and shingles (Attenuvax, MMR, Mumpsvax, Proquad, Varivax, Zostavax brands), adult pneumococcal (Pneumovax brand), polio (IPV brand), rotavirus (RotaRix and RotaTeq brands).

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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