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A webpage on Natural News claims that it is a bad idea to get a flu shot because certain flu shots contain antibiotics. It says:

The flu vaccines contain antibiotics such as neomycin, polymyxin B and gentamicin which are added to eliminate stray bacteria found in the mixture. Evidence shows that antibiotics wipe out beneficial bacteria that is needed for optimum health. Antibiotics ironically lower the immune system and cause Candida overgrowth.

Do flu shots contain antibiotics and if so, does that make them harmful to your health?

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This page from the University of Oxford vaccine knowledge project says that flu vaccine contains traces of antibiotics and formaldehyde. They don't define "trace" but it usually means something well below the level that might have any effect, and probably so low that it can't be measured accurately.

This is likely to be something left over from the manufacturing process. At a guess, its because the virus used to make the vaccine needs to be cultured in live cells, and those cells are in a solution of antibiotics to prevent bacterial growth.

So the original claim is technically true, but presented in a misleading way. It implies that you will receive a significant dose of antibiotic along with the vaccine. This is false.

  • Neomycin, polymyxin B and gentamicin are common in eyedrops prescribed for pinkeye and other eye infections. Polymyxin B is the ingredient in Polysporin, so I suspect that you'd be getting far more antibiotic by rubbing a cut with Polysporin, or by treating an eye infection than you'd get from any vaccine. – Keith Procter Jan 31 '17 at 18:55

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