Vaccine-Induced Allergies

A study published in the journal Pediatrics in June 2011 found that 8.0% of American children have food allergies, with 38.7% of those children (or 3.1% of all children) having a history of severe reactions.  Historically, the words “allergy” and “anaphylaxis” were coined to describe vaccine-injuries (see The words “allergy” and “anaphylaxis” were invented to describe vaccine-injuries).
Every vaccination will produce allergy antibodies.  And the more potent a vaccine with aluminum or toxoid additives (adjuvants), the greater the risk for allergy and life threatening anaphylaxis to any of the injected ingredients. This is a medically recognized risk of vaccination.[1]  This risk of anaphylaxis and allergy has become a reality for a rising number of children over the last 20 years as vaccines have increased in number and potency.

Allergic sensitization occurs when a protein(s) that is ingested, inhaled or injected, manages to evade enzymatic modification or detoxification and gain access to the bloodstream.  If it persists in the blood, the protein is deemed a threat and the body sets up a defense that includes antibodies such as IgE (immunoglobulin epsilon) – on subsequent exposure to the protein this antibody triggers the release of histamine. Histamine causes inflammation and the contraction of smooth muscle.  Symptoms include hives, constricted airways, vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in blood pressure and even death.

Anaphylaxis following vaccination with the conjugate vaccine Hib B, for example, has increased in recent years complicating routine immunization.[2] [3]  But a potentially more profound and yet little discussed allergic concern is the use of foods in pediatric injections (vaccines, Vitamin K1, etc.) and their role in the creation of food allergies.



See also:  Peanut allergies

Pediatric injections have historically contained food proteins including those from beef, egg, pork, fish, dairy, legumes such as soybean and castor bean, and more. Mice injected with pertussis and egg protein resulted in egg allergy.[4]  Could this happen to humans?

Starting in 1994 and continuing through the 1990s, an outbreak of gelatin allergy in Japanese and American children was identified as having been caused by pediatric vaccination.  In that year, changes to the vaccination schedule in Japan meant that: the DTP was replaced by an acellular version containing gelatin; the age at which it was administered to children was dropped from 2 years to 3 months; and this new vaccine was given before the live virus MMR vaccine that also contained gelatin. When children began reacting with anaphylaxis to the MMR vaccine as well as gelatin containing foods (yoghurt, jello, etc.) doctors investigated. Finally, they concluded that the aluminum adjuvant in the DTaP had helped sensitize children to the “minute amounts” of “poorly hydrolyzed” beef and pork gelatin in the vaccine.[5]  Removal of gelatin from the DTaP vaccines was “an ultimate solution for vaccine-related gelatin allergy”[6] Subsequently, new cases of anaphylaxis following the MMR vaccine in Japanese children decreased.

A similar association was found in the US.[7]  Gelatin continues to be used in other vaccines.

Given the recognized history of vaccine induced allergy in children, has vaccination also precipitated the current increase of peanut allergy in children?  Since 1997 prevalence of this life threatening allergy has increased from .4% of children under 18 to an estimated 1.4% in 2008.


Peanut allergy was first documented in several post-WWII studies of adults and children injected with the new ‘wonder drug’ penicillin.  At this time, a challenge existed in that a dose of penicillin would last just a few hours.  To prolong the action of this drug, army doctor Cpt. Monroe Romansky mixed it with what was available during wartime — peanut oil and beeswax.  It was a simple solution — the body would metabolize the oil and slowly release the drug into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, Romansky’s formula also sensitized a handful of children and adults to peanuts.[8] To reduce this side effect, the peanut oil was refined to remove as much sensitizing protein as possible.  And yet, according to the FDA most “highly refined” peanut oil contains trace intact proteins 0.014 to 16.7 µg protein/ml oil.[9]  Regardless, with its relative safety in penicillin, peanut oil was adopted into common use within the pharmaceutical industry.

In 1964, Merck announced that it had patented a revolutionary peanut oil vaccine adjuvant.  This news was reported in 1964 and 1966 in The New York Times[10] with follow up in medical literature through the early 70s. Merck’s Adjuvant 65-4 provoked such high levels of antibodies – 64 times higher than the same vaccine in an aqueous solution — that any vaccine to which it was added could produce many years worth of immunity. Was this potency safe?  A 1973 WHO report co-written by Adjuvant 65-4 inventor Maurice Hilleman found the use of peanut oil was relatively safe if properly injected to avoid “severe adverse reactions”.[11] But the safety of the adjuvant was challenged by others including D. Hobson in the Postgraduate Medical Journal (March, 1973).  Hobson documented the power of this adjuvant to sensitize recipients to vaccine proteins. This adjuvant created allergies.

Peanut allergy in children and adults grew slowly until the late 1980’s when its prevalence began to accelerate in children in certain westernized countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.  This rise is documented by ER records, two cohort studies from the Isle of Wight and eye-witness accounts. In the early 1990s, teachers in the affected countries were taken aback by a sudden surge of food allergic kindergarten children.

The rise in life-threatening food anaphylaxis in children coincided with significant changes to the pediatric injection and vaccination schedules of the affected countries: injection of the Vitamin K1 prophylaxis (containing legume oil) became routine in the mid-1980s; the novel conjugate vaccine Hib B that was soon rolled into an unprecedented 5 vaccines in one needle and delivered to babies without benefit of long term study.  The injected adjuvants and toxoids and food proteins designed to provoke the immune system also increased the risk of provoking allergy.  Allergy is an evolved defense against acute toxicity.

There are precedents recent and historical (see  The Words Allergy and Anaphylaxis were Invented to Describe Vaccine-Injuries) for the causal link between vaccines and mass allergy.


The terms “allergy” and “anaphylaxis” were created following a strange illness that affected up to 50% of vaccinated children at the close of the 1800s.  This illness was simply called “serum sickness” and followed the first mass administration of diphtheria anti-toxin sera.  Austrian pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet studied the illness at length and observed that the symptoms of this sickness resembled those in people who were hypersensitive to pollens and bee stings.  To better describe this ‘altered reactivity’ to the sera he created the Latin derived word allergy in 1906.

In 1901, another doctor Charles Richet had stumbled on the same phenomenon during attempts to vaccinate dogs to a jellyfish poison.  He began by injecting dogs with trace amounts of the poison to create a level of tolerance to it.  However, when he injected the animals a second time, he provoked a violent reaction that quickly killed the dogs.  For this reaction he used a Latin term ana-phylaxis or anti-protection, because the outcome was the opposite of the protection that the vaccine was supposed to provide.

Richet experimented further.  He quickly discovered that any protein including those from foods injected into the bloodstream results in sensitization and anaphylaxis on subsequent exposure to the food. Richet injected minute quantities of milk and meat proteins into cats, rabbits and horses and showed that anaphylaxis is a universal immune system defense.

Prior to the advent of vaccination, mass allergy such as serum sickness was unknown.  At the dawn of the 20th century, doctors identified the problem of allergy as an outcome of mass vaccination – on which government relied.  The dilemma of serum-induced allergy was summarized by allergist Warren Vaughan in 1941:

“Serum disease, as this is called, is a man-made malady.  If we had no curative serums and if there were no such thing as a hypodermic syringe with which to introduce the material under the skin, there would be no serum disease.  Instead multitudes would still be dying from diphtheria and lockjaw … Thus, we find ourselves in somewhat of a dilemma, faced with the necessity for choosing the lesser of two potential evils.”    Warren Vaughan, Strange Malady (1941)

As vaccine ingredients became better refined to reduce the sensitizing proteins, prevalence of serum sickness decreased.  With the 20th century expansion of vaccination programs and schedules to include food proteins and adjuvants, however, other unforeseen problems arose to take its place.  One of these was a rise in food allergy.




[1] D. O’Hagan (ed.), “Induction of Allergy to Food Proteins,” and “Real and Theoretical Risks of Vaccine Adjuvants,” Vaccine Adjuvants (NJ, Humana Press, 2000) 10 & 32.

[2] M.R. Nelson, et al., “Anaphylaxis complicating routine childhood immunization: haemophilus influenza b conjugated vaccine,” Pediatric Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, 14, 4 (Dec. 2000): 315-321.

[3] M. Flora Martin-Munoz, “Anaphylactic reaction to diphtheria-tetanus vaccine in a chid: specific IgE IgG determinations and cross-reactivity studies,” Vaccine, 20, 27-38 (Sept. 2002): 3409-3412.

[4] U. Kosecka, et al. “Pertussis adjuvant prolongs intestinal hypersensitivity, “ International Archives of Allergy & Immunology, 119, 3 (July, 1999): 205-11.

[5] Nakayama T, Aizawa C, Kuno-Sakai H. “A clinical analysis of gelatin allergy and determination of its causal relationship to the previous administration of gelatin-containing acellular pertussis vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids,” Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunolology (Feb., 1999): 321-5.

[6] H. Kuno-Sakai, M. Kimura, “Removal of gelatin from live vaccines and DTaP – an ultimate solution for vaccine-related gelatin allergy,” Biologicals, 31 (2003): 245-249.

[7] V. Pool, et al. “Prevalence of anti-gelatin IgE antibodies in people with anaphylaxis after measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in the United States,” Pediatrics, 110, 6 (Dec. 2002): e71.

[8] G. Hildick-Smith, et al., “Penicillin Regiments in Pediatric Practice: Study of Blood Levels,” Pediatrics (Jan. 1950): 97-113.

[9] Threshold Working Group, Approaches to Establish Thresholds for Major Food Allergens and for Gluten in Food. III, IV, V, (FDA , March, 2006)

[10] Stacy V. Jones, “Peanut oil used in new vaccine; product patented for Merck said to extend immunity,” The New York Times, Business Financial Section (Sept. 19, 1964) 31.

Anon, “Peanut Oil Additive is Found to Improve Flu Shot’s Potency,” The New York Times (Nov. 11, 1966).

[11] M.R. Hilleman, et al., “Imunological Adjuvants Report of a WHO Scientific Group”, World Health Organization Technical Report Series, No. 5959 (Geneva, WHO, 1976) 11.