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Mailbag: 2018 Whoppers, Vaccine Additives

This week, readers sent us comments about our story on the whoppers of 2018, and on vaccine safety and additives.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

Not Much of a ‘Whopper’

It’s one thing to be stupid like [then-Rep.-elect Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez on unemployment and the real whoppers told by Trump over and over [“The Whoppers of 2018,” Dec. 20]. To compare them in the same article for “balance” is a false equivalency.

Patricia Tawney
Colton, Oregon

Fact-Checking Vaccine Additives

You go to great length in discussing whether or not CDC was guilty of a cover-up in Jessica McDonald’s recent article [“Rep.-elect Green Wrong About Vaccines, CDC Fraud,” Dec. 21] however spend zero time explaining why profitable drug companies need to put harmful chemicals like mercury (and no it’s not acceptable that it’s the not quite as harmful mercury) or aluminum in vaccines that we give to our CHILDREN. Our general environment is full of more toxins than ever before in human history and [while] there is no clear indication of causation for autism, it seems clear that toxicity and your bodies ability to deal with it — especially as a child — are important factors that have extreme consequences for our children’s health. So I would say the more important question is why aren’t vaccines 100% safe and free of harmful additives? The answer seems to be only because drug companies care more about profit — and like most people in life today will continue to do so until we make them (legislate) otherwise.

Am I wrong?

Joshua Walker
Charleston, South Carolina

FactCheck.org responds: Additives are included in vaccines to make them safer and more effective. As we wrote in our article, thimerosal, for example, is sometimes added to vials that contain more than one dose to reduce contamination. This is because there is a chance that bacteria, fungi or other microbes could get inside a vial when one of the doses is given. If allowed to grow, such contamination could be dangerous for the people receiving the following doses.

Other ingredients called adjuvants, which include various types of aluminum, are added to vaccines to make them work better. Yet other ingredients are included to keep the vaccine stable or to inactivate certain components, such as viruses, in the manufacturing process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that “all ingredients either help make the vaccine, or ensure the vaccine is safe and effective.”