A new observational CDC-funded study was released on September 27th, 2022 in Academic Pediatrics examining whether aluminum in vaccines could be linked to asthma. The study did not find that aluminum in vaccines causes asthma but suggests a possible association between exposure to aluminum in some childhood vaccines and development of persistent asthma in children.
This study has important limitations that the authors acknowledge, and CDC is not changing the current routine childhood vaccination recommendations based on this single study. CDC agrees with the authors that this single observational study has important limitations and does not show that aluminum in some childhood vaccines can cause development of persistent asthma. Additionally, there may be other unrecognized factors that might influence the development of asthma that were not measured in this study. Vaccine safety is studied continuously, even after a vaccine is licensed and administered. This study is an example of how our national vaccine safety systems may signal areas for further study to ensure safety over time. Further investigation is needed to explore the risk of aluminum exposure from routine childhood vaccines on the development of persistent asthma in children; efforts are already underway. Small amounts of aluminum are added to some vaccines to help the body build stronger immunity. Aluminum adjuvants have been safely used for decades and are included in many routine childhood vaccines but are not used in COVID-19 or influenza vaccines. CDC, FDA, and partners continue to monitor the safety of all vaccines and are discussing opportunities to collaborate on additional studies that can help investigate the potential risk of aluminum exposure from routine childhood vaccines.
NACCHO is sharing the information in this blog post, which has been adapted from CDC communications, to support local health departments in understanding and responding to the recently published studies as well as communicating effectively with communities as concerns may arise. We recognize these results may sound concerning to some parents and we anticipate this single study will be misinterpreted by anti-vaccine leaders, but there continues to be overwhelming evidence of the benefits of vaccines.
Vaccinate Your Family (VYF), a national non-profit partner organization of NACCHOs focused on increasing the public’s understanding of and confidence in the safety of vaccines, has developed resources to help in making sure the facts about this study get out ahead of any potential anti-vaccine rhetoric or public concern. Please consider sharing VYF’s post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or use the talking points (in English and Spanish) and/or graphics they have created to develop your own communications products.