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Safety Of Aluminium In Vaccines: NCIRS vs Professor Chris Exley

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chris Exley vaccine aluminium

NCIRS on the left vs Professor Chris Exley on the right

Recently two quite different publications landed at around the same time.

One of them was the launch of new government-funded materials for teaching doctors and nurses how to convince parents to vaccinate their children, and the other was a letter from Chris Exley, Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Keele University Staffordshire UK and the world’s leading authority on the biological effects of aluminium and silicon.

Both publications address the safety of aluminium in vaccines, and unsurprisingly, the views on aluminium presented are diametrically opposed.

The two publications are

  1. From the NCIRS: 22/10/19 – Addressing parents’ immunisation communication and information needs and SKAI eLearning module launch
  2. From Professor Chris Exley: An aluminium adjuvant in a vaccine is an acute exposure to aluminium


The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) is “the leading research organisation in Australia that provides objective expert advice on all aspects of vaccine preventable diseases, and other issues related to immunisation, to inform policy and planning for immunisation services in Australia.”

Their vision is “Healthy people in Australia and beyond through immunisation” and their purpose is “To lead and support collaborative research and to advance immunisation and practice.”

They are funded by the Australian federal government and the government of New South Wales.

You would expect such an illustrious body of expert scientists who have selflessly sacrificed their whole life to the cause of getting everybody vaccinated, with nothing but huge prestige and a big salary in return, to REALLY know what they are talking about as far as aluminium in vaccines goes.

But what they come up with is utter rubbish.

On the NCIRS page there’s a video from a seminar tutoring health professionals on how to speak to vaccine-hesitant parents, and here’s a slide of what Associate Professor Nicholas Wood suggests doctors tell these parents about aluminium:

Starting at 35:40 minutes Professor Nicholas Wood suggests doctors say to parents that aluminium is found in water and foods, and how one of the great sources of aluminium for infants is infant milk formula, as if all this somehow means injected vaccine aluminium is safe.

He states there have been many toxicology studies done and it has been looked into over a long period. The trouble with this is that aluminium toxicology studies quoted by medical authorities are all based on oral aluminium, not particles of aluminium salts injected into muscle, as we have with vaccines. The two have completely different pathways through the body, for one thing.

He adds there are many websites available that can answer specific questions some vaccine-hesitant parents may have about aluminium safety, such as the CDC website, a video Paul Offit has done, a book called the Clinician’s Vaccine Safety Resource Guide and he particularly points out a paper this book recommends which he says is not for everyone but good to give parents who have a background in science and want more information. Here’s the paper:
Updated aluminium pharmacokinetics following infant exposure through diet and vaccination
– by Mitkus et al

If you would like to investigate this paper, here are two very good rebuttals:

  1. By Vaccine Papers (which is written by an anonymous scientist):
    Debunking Aluminum Adjuvant, Part 2: FDA’s Flawed Study of Al Adjuvant Toxicity (Mitkus 2011)
  2. By a group of scientists including Professor Chris Exley, published in Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 2017:
    Critical analysis of reference studies on the toxicokinetics of aluminum-based adjuvants

To give you an idea of what these rebuttals are saying, here are some strong statements Vaccine Papers makes in his/her article above:

1) The MRL [Minimum Risk Level of aluminium] is derived from a feeding experiment with water-soluble aluminum lactate, not insoluble and persistent aluminum adjuvant* particles.

2) The MRL is based on outdated and wrong science.

3) Mitkus assumes that aluminum adjuvant has zero toxicity while in particulate form.

Another important point Vaccine Papers makes is that the solid surfaces of particles of aluminium salts are toxic, much like the solid surfaces of asbestos fibres are toxic (despite asbestos being composed of harmless elements).

Another website

Besides the video, the NCIRS page refers parents to a website

and this leads the questioning parent to an NCIRS fact sheet titled
Vaccine Components

In two short paragraphs the fact sheet tells us injected vaccine aluminium is safe and the exposure is less than from food, referring to a review paper they don’t name, leaving the parent to search for the relevant paper in the (not numbered) list of references. But it’s probably this one:
Jefferson T, Rudin M, Di Pietrantonj C. Adverse events after immunization with aluminium-containing DTP vaccines: systematic review of the evidence. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2004; 4: 84–90.

Find the whole study by plugging the PMID number into this website:

The authors include the following statements about the studies they reviewed – they don’t inspire confidence in their results:

Overall, the methodological quality of included studies was low. Few reports gave details of the randomisation process, allocation concealment, reasons for withdrawals, or strategies to deal with them in analysis. Inconsistencies in reporting, lack of clarity on numerators and denominators, variability of outcome definitions, and lack of outcome definitions led to much loss of data.


Despite a lack of good-quality evidence we do not recommend that any further research on this topic is undertaken.

But let’s go to Professor Chris Exley’s recent letter for some aluminium calculations.

Professor Chris Exley

Here is his letter again:
An aluminium adjuvant in a vaccine is an acute exposure to aluminium

The letter is in 5 sections, here are some key points for each:

  1. Introduction – Exley speaks of the baby talk doctors use to discuss amounts of aluminium in vaccines, such as “teeny-weeny”.
  2. How much aluminium is found in vaccines? – Exley points out that the Infanrix hexa** vaccine has 0.82 mg of aluminium per 0.5 ml dose (the aluminium is in the form of particles of aluminium salts). However the mass of the aluminium salt in the vaccine is around 10 times that, about 8 mg per 0.5 ml dose. This is around 10 times more than the mass of all the other ingredients in the dose combined.
  3. Is the amount of aluminium in a vaccine ‘minuscule’? – Exley describes how the body’s way of removing aluminium salt particles injected into muscle is chaotic with many processes involved, and is very different from the way the body removes another toxic material, cadmium salt. He especially points out that vaccine aluminium salt potentially has uninterrupted access to the infant brain. Exley then adds up the amount of aluminium in vaccines and diet and compares this to aluminium in the diet only, taking into consideration things such as the permeability of the infant gut and oral aluminium’s passage through the liver.
  4. Acute versus chronic exposure to aluminium – Exley describes how the aluminium salt concentration at the injection site is very high, so it damages and kills cells there. He goes on to explain that some cells, such as macrophages, will take up the aluminium salt particles into their cytoplasm, reducing the amount of harm the remaining aluminium salt can do.The problem is that after these cells are loaded up with aluminium salt particles they can migrate anywhere in the body, including the brain, over the following weeks.
  5. Conclusion: is the amount of aluminium in a vaccine ‘minuscule’? – Exley looks at the amount of aluminium routinely given in the UK in the first 6 months of life, that is, in 3 doses of Infanrix hexa and also 3 doses of two other aluminium-containing vaccines Prevenar13 and Meningococcal B (both meningitis vaccines) that are usually given at the same time as Infanrix hexa. He concludes that aluminium exposure from these vaccines is acute.

Please do read the letter for more details.

*Adjuvant – an adjuvant, for example an aluminium salt, is added to many vaccines to deliberately cause inflammation to make the immune response to the vaccine stronger.

**Infanrix hexa vaccine is routinely given to babies at 2, 4 and 6 months of age in Australia and the UK, and is a combination of vaccines for 6 diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, HiB disease and polio. Read more.

Who would you trust?

Who would you trust on the safety of aluminium in vaccines – Professor Chris Exley and Vaccine Papers or the folks at NCIRS? Would you say the science is “settled”?

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