UPDATE: Here is a list of vaccine ingredients posted by CDC. I have annotated the list with yellow highlights for animal-derived materials, and annotated in red MRC-5 DNA and protein. MRC-5 is a human fetal cell line derived from lung tissue. -- Meryl
Meryl Nass, MD
Mount Desert Island Hospital
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
April 9, 2011
Dear HHS Committee Member:
Re: LD 694, bill requiring that a list of vaccine ingredients be provided with all pediatric vaccinations
1. Listing vaccine ingredients may not be absolutely necessary. But consider that FDA requires food manufacturers to list all ingredients. This allows consumers to avoid ingredients to which they may be allergic, and avoid those to which there may be a religious prohibition.
Some vaccines contain eggs, which occasionally cause serious allergic reactions. Some vaccines contain gelatin (prohibited for kosher Jews); others are made in [aborted] fetal cells or their derivatives, and are avoided for that reason.
2. Hundreds of new vaccines are in development, and they contain a wide array of new ingredients to stimulate increased immunity. These ingredients do not have to be tested for their individual toxicity: their only required testing occurs during a clinical trial of the complete vaccine. Most human vaccine studies last one month. If no serious side effect is identified within that period, the tested vaccine may be licensed.
This kind of testing is insufficient to identify whether the vaccine or its components may cause or promote cancers. It will miss most birth defects and autoimmune illnesses that might be related to vaccination. Vaccine trials usually avoid pregnant women. Cancers and autoimmune illnesses may take months or years to appear.
3. In 2009-10, swine flu vaccines were made with and without novel adjuvants (new additives used to enhance the immune response), using abbreviated testing. Novel adjuvants had not been used in previously licensed US vaccines.
Recently it was learned that the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine caused or contributed to narcolepsy in children, and that some other swine flu vaccines caused seizures. Their use in children has been stopped in some countries (Finland , Ireland  and Australia , for example).
Pandemrix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, used a novel adjuvant that had not been used in children before, nor used in the US. Subsequently, Glaxo’s Cervarix HPV vaccine was licensed in the US, containing this novel adjuvant.
This offers an example of how an ingredient list would be beneficial:
The Pandemrix adjuvant is not present in Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine, but is present in Glaxo's Cervarix HPV vaccine. Knowing the ingredients, one could make an educated choice about which vaccine to use.
4. Consider the difference between ingesting food and injecting vaccines. Food has to pass through the gastrointestinal tract, which acts as a barrier against noxious substances entering the body, protecting us from harm.
Injections bypass all skin and mucosal barriers, overriding important protective mechanisms. Substances injected into us therefore need even more careful vetting than is given to foods. Vaccines should be at least as safe as foods, and their components should be equally transparent.
5. Providing a list of ingredients at the time of inoculation will not add a significant burden to medical providers or manufacturers.
Federal regulations already require that a CDC-designed “Vaccine Information Statement” be given to parents with each child’s inoculation. This form could be easily amended to include a list of vaccine ingredients.
An ingredient list is part of the vaccine label/package insert that is included with every bottle of vaccine sent to vaccine providers. This package insert or its list of vaccine ingredients could be given to patients with the Vaccine Information Statement.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this piece of legislation.
Meryl Nass, M.D.