No Virginia, there is no aborted fetal tissue in flu vaccines

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No Virginia, there is no aborted fetal tissue in flu vaccines


Wednesday, I received an email from a particularly conscientious professional who's in charge of Human Resources for a mid-sized company in Virginia.

With the subject line, "Need Vaccine Info Please," she wrote:

"Dear Wendy, Our company nurse just informed our employees that she doesn't recommend the flu shot because of all the ‘other stuff' that's in it – like aborted fetal tissue. Do you have any information with regards to this matter? My employees are crossing their names off in droves from our sign-up sheet for the free flu shot clinic we've planned on providing next week. Thank you so much."

Okay, after my initial shock that anyone in the public health field would actually promulgate such drivel, I conducted a search to see why anyone – and particularly a nursing professional – would even think this possible. To my shock (again), there is indeed a ton of misinformation (and frankly, ridiculous  "data") available online regarding the flu vaccine.

Although, in all fairness, I can see how (to the untrained eye) one might get sucked into believing the false information, as some of it does have a sciencey flair to it – albeit commingled with "big pharma" and government conspiracy theories.

So, in the event that there are those of you reading this who've been erroneously told that there's fetal tissue in the flu vaccine, the reality is, there is no chance (as in zero chance) of any human tissue in the flu vaccines – be it the shot or the nasal spray version.

Let me say that again so that there's no misunderstanding: There is absolutely no fetal tissue whatsoever in the flu vaccine. How can I be so sure? The virus that's used to make the flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs. Of course, if you have a severe egg allergy, your doctor shall surely advise you to not get the flu vaccine – but still, nobody here but us chickens.

To learn more about this year's (2009-2010) inactivated influenza vaccine (including that it's made in chicken eggs), the CDC offers this easy-to-understand material. Click here (in PDF format). And to learn more about this year's nasal flu vaccine (yes, also made in chicken eggs), the CDC offers this easy-to-understand material. Click here (in PDF format).

Oh, just in case you're wondering, shortly after the H.R. professional provided her employees with the correct, evidence-based scientific information, the sign-up sheets are again, filling up. And to the nurse who provided the misinformation – while I thank her for trying to do right by her clients, I nonetheless offer her the following: No Virginia, there is no aborted fetal tissue in flu vaccines.

Comments (11)
11 Friday, 05 September 2014 08:28
ky sgh
The Children's Hospital in Philadelphia's website can explain the fetal
tissue connection. Look it up for the truth.
Although I do not know whether fetal tissue is used in the development of the various influenza vaccines, the use of fetal tissue in vaccine development has been common practice for decades.

The bottom line is that vaccines are unlikely to contain remnants of human fetuses. However, the use of fetuses for the development of vaccines is quite common.
9 Tuesday, 12 October 2010 15:51
Steve F
and thus a person is right to be concerned about the flu vaccine also. See
The linked PDF does state growth in eggs so there you have it, but stop with the name calling of those who are morally concerned. I found this article while trying to research the flu vaccine so that I can make an informed decision. I would like a little more information than what is stated in that PDF: "-Influenza vaccine virus is grown in eggs. People with a severe egg allergy should not get influenza vaccine.
-A severe allergy to any vaccine component is also a reason not to get the vaccine."
What are the other components of the vaccine? I am looking for that information also.
8 Tuesday, 27 October 2009 12:22

Your comments about the above article would be helpful.
7 Sunday, 25 October 2009 20:30
Hunkered Down with Tissues in Buffalo
Sad that such unfounded information can make it into the public discourse, particularly when those manning the left and center of the bell curve are so susceptible to false, bad, and dangerous info. Thanks for being on top of the facts and details, and also for having the acumen to present material that is well-founded, to the point, and helpful.
6 Sunday, 25 October 2009 12:48
Wendy, thanks for the info. Do you have any idea how this rumor started? Is it because chicken eggs are the precursors to chicken embryos and someone got a bit confused on their biology lessons? Hope this gets a lot of play over the net. Good work!
5 Friday, 23 October 2009 19:14
..."editor?" I meant "anal torturer." My bad.
4 Friday, 23 October 2009 19:10
...and the editor in me is sorry to point out that it's "advise" (as in "...your doctor shall surely advise you...")

Congrats again!!
3 Friday, 23 October 2009 19:07
...but the lunatic fringe will want to know where the virus itself came from. They probably will argue that it was created from when godless, lefty, "HOMO-sex-ual" scientists used aborted fetus tissue to experiment on pigs--trying to turn them into human sex surrogates (at taxpayer expense, of course)--and then released it into the general population in order to prevent honest, God-fearing Americans from buying guns, lots of guns, and using them on "them foreigners."

Or something.

I, of course, refute their argument by pointing out that the only thing remotely piggish about me is my filthy imagination....but that's just me.

You go girl [finger-wag 2X]
2 Friday, 23 October 2009 15:36
Jonathan Fink
Congratulations on making the front page!!!As previously stated,you are really,really,really,a good writer.Yay!
1 Friday, 23 October 2009 15:26
Muriel Leonard
You are such a good writer. I'll circulate this

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