Risk factors for granulomas in children following immunization with aluminium-adsorbed vaccines: A Danish population-based cohort study

Stine Skovbo Hoffmann*, Emilia Myrup Thiesson, Jeanne Duus Johansen, Anders Hviid

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Aluminium-adsorbed vaccines may in some children cause severely itching nodules at the injection site, known as vaccination granulomas.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate vaccine-, child- and maternal-level risk factors for the development of vaccination granulomas following immunization with aluminium-adsorbed vaccines.

METHODS: A Danish population-based cohort study with 553 932 children born in Denmark from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2018, vaccinated with an aluminium-adsorbed vaccine during the first year of life, followed until 31 December 2020. Poisson regression was used to estimate granuloma rate ratios according to the type of adjuvant, accumulated dose of aluminium, timing of vaccination appointments, sex, gestational age, having siblings with granulomas, maternal age and maternal ethnicity.

RESULTS: We identified 1901 vaccination granuloma cases (absolute risk, 0.34%). Among vaccine level factors, revaccination (third vs. first vaccination appointment, adjusted rate ratio [RR] 1.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-1.55), the specific adjuvant used (aluminium phosphate vs. hydroxide, RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.48-0.70) and dosage (≥1.0 mg vs. <1.0 mg, RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.19-1.52) were associated with risk of granulomas; the timing of vaccination appointments was not. Among child-level factors, female sex (vs. males, RR 1.12, 95% CI, 1.02-1.22), prematurity (vs. term birth, RR 0.71, 95% CI, 0.54-0.93) and having sibling(s) with granulomas (vs. no siblings with granulomas, RR 46.15, 95% CI, 33.67-63.26) were associated with risk of granulomas. Among maternal-level factors, non-Danish ethnicity (vs. Danish, RR 0.51, 95% CI, 0.42-0.63) and young maternal age (<20 years vs. 20-39 years, RR 0.46, 95% CI 0.25-0.83) were associated with risk of granulomas.

CONCLUSIONS: Several risk factors for vaccination granulomas at the vaccine, child and maternal levels, were identified. Reducing the dose of aluminium or replacing aluminium hydroxide with aluminium phosphate could reduce the risk of granulomas. However, this must be balanced against the potential for reduced immunogenicity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)430-438
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • adjuvant
  • aluminium
  • children
  • contact allergy
  • granuloma
  • hydroxide
  • phosphate
  • vaccination


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk factors for granulomas in children following immunization with aluminium-adsorbed vaccines: A Danish population-based cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this