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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen March 22, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aluminum

If Your Time is short

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports small amounts of aluminum, specifically aluminum salts, have been used in vaccines since the 1930s. The aluminum acts as an adjuvant, which helps elicit a stronger immune response from the body.

  • Adults on average ingest 7 to 9 milligrams of aluminum per day, and the amount found in a vaccine is equivalent to that found in a liter of baby formula, according to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

  • Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have shared the ingredients list to their vaccines and none have an aluminum adjuvant.

As millions of Americans continue to wait for their turn to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, misinformation about the vaccines’ safety continues to circulate online.  

A year-old video shared on Instagram makes false claims about the vaccines’ ingredients. The caption of the post describes the featured video as a "Sunday school church lesson," claiming aluminum is "in the vaccine" and "will kill" the brain.

Many users interpreted that to mean harmful amounts of aluminum are in the COVID-19 vaccines. That isn’t true.

The three-minute video involves Lawrence Palevsky, a pediatrician from Northport, N.Y., speaking about the dangers of vaccinations during a public health hearing held by the Connecticut General Assembly on Feb. 19, 2020.

Palevsky, who is involved in the anti-vaccination movement, claims that aluminum nanoparticles in vaccines are able to enter the brain and cause neurodevelopmental problems, asthma, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. He also says the safety of aluminum nanoparticles in vaccines and its effects on the human body has not been evaluated or studied.

This is inaccurate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports small amounts of aluminum, specifically aluminum salts, have been used in vaccines since the 1930s. The aluminum acts as an adjuvant, which helps elicit a stronger immune response from the body.

The CDC says vaccines containing adjuvants like aluminum are "tested for safety and effectiveness in clinical trials before they are licensed for use in the United States, and they are continuously monitored by CDC and FDA once they are approved."

Aluminum is commonly found in nature, with trace amounts present in air, food and water, according to the agency.

Adults on average ingest 7 to 9 milligrams of aluminum per day, and the amount found in a vaccine is equivalent to that found in a liter of baby formula, according to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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Research has also shown the levels of aluminum found in vaccines are so low that they can't easily be absorbed by the body, let alone the brain. There has been no evidence of vaccines being the cause of illness of developmental disorders.

Palevsky’s comments came in February 2020, long before we had COVID-19 vaccines.

But it’s worth noting that none of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently being used in the United States contain any amount of aluminum. All three manufacturers, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have shared the ingredients list to their vaccines and none have an aluminum adjuvant.

The Sputnik V and AstraZeneca vaccines, which are currently being used in Europe, also do not contain aluminum.

Our ruling

A year-old video being reshared on Instagram claims that aluminum nanoparticles in vaccines cause a variety of illnesses and developmental disorders. The caption implies the COVID-19 vaccines also contain aluminum and contribute to health issues.

Although several vaccines do contain a miniscule amount of aluminum, research has found it’s not enough to be absorbed by the body. Humans already ingest amounts of aluminum just by living their everyday lives as it can be found in food, water and the air.

There is no evidence that any vaccine can cause people to experience illnesses or developmental disorders.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use throughout the United States and Europe contain aluminum.  

The claim is False. ​

Our Sources

Instagram post, March 14, 2021

Connecticut General Assembly, "Public Health Committee February 19th Public Hearing on Proposed Legislation Concerning Public School Immunizations" transcript, Feb. 19, 2020

Connecticut General Assembly, "Public Health Committee February 19th Public Hearing on Proposed Legislation Concerning Public School Immunizations" video, Feb. 19, 2020

ABC News, "Anti-vaccine leaders targeting minority becomes growing concern at NYC forum," Nov. 10, 2019

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "What is an adjuvant and why is it added to a vaccine," accessed March 18, 2021

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, "Vaccine Ingredients - Aluminum," accessed March 18, 2021

National Library of Medicine, "Updated aluminum pharmacokinetics following infant exposures through diet and vaccination," accessed March 18, 2021

Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet for recipients and caregivers, accessed March 18, 2021

Food and Drug Administration, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet for recipients and caregivers, accessed March 18, 2021

Food and Drug Administration, Janseen, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet for recipients and caregivers, accessed March 18, 2021

MedUm, Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, accessed March 18, 2021

Gov.UK, Information for UK recipients on COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, accessed March 18, 2021

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The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aluminum

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