Aluminum and vaccines: Current state of knowledge

Med Mal Infect. 2020 Feb;50(1):16-21. doi: 10.1016/j.medmal.2019.09.012. Epub 2019 Oct 11.


French people have never been so wary about vaccines. The use of aluminum salts in vaccine adjuvants to enhance effectiveness is one of the major reasons for this lack of confidence. The direct toxicity of aluminum is often put forward. Direct toxicity of aluminum has long been known-especially with occupational exposure-to be associated with characteristic clinical manifestations and increased blood aluminum level. Intoxication related to the excessive amount of an element in the body, whether be it lead poisoning following exposure to lead or mercury poisoning for instance, is always associated with metal increase in biological media. To date no link has been established between the direct toxicity of aluminum and vaccines. Aluminum levels in biological media of vaccinated subjects are not different from those of unvaccinated subjects. This is consistent with the very small amount of aluminum contained in one dose of vaccine. Indirect toxicity of aluminum was suggested to explain macrophagic myofasciitis in humans in 2011, a disease that could be mediated by an autoimmune/autoinflammatory mechanism. This hypothesis has recently been refuted in a large pharmaco-epidemiological study proving that aluminum-containing adjuvants of vaccines are not responsible for this autoimmune/autoinflammatory syndrome.

Keywords: Adjuvants; Aluminium; Aluminum; Direct toxicity; Indirect toxicity; Toxicité directe; Toxicité indirecte; Vaccines; Vaccins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic / toxicity*
  • Aluminum / pharmacokinetics
  • Aluminum / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Salts
  • Vaccines / adverse effects*


  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic
  • Salts
  • Vaccines
  • Aluminum