What ingredients are in the Pfizer Covid vaccine?

8 December 2020, 08:50

A Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer has been approved for the UK
A Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer has been approved for the UK. Picture: PA

By Zoe Adams

The rollout of the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is under way in the UK - but what is in it? What is an RNA vaccine?

People in the UK have now begun receiving a coronavirus vaccine and a priority list of who will get it first has been revealed - but what is in the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine?

With the vaccine programme now under way, one of the biggest questions is the ingredients of the vaccine and the technology behind the RNA approach.

Coronavirus: What is an RNA vaccine and how does it work?

With the Pfizer vaccination offering 95% efficacy rates, here’s a look inside what’s in the vaccination compared to a traditional jab, as well as exactly what an RNA injection is:

Coronavirus vaccine: UK residents are keen to know the ingredients list
Coronavirus vaccine: UK residents are keen to know the ingredients list. Picture: PA

What is an RNA vaccination?

RNA is an abbreviation for ribonucleic acid and is present in all living cells. The definition, as stated by the Oxford dictionary, is that RNA acts as a messenger carrying instructions from DNA.

It is said to use small fragments from the genetic code of Covid-19 which would start making the virus inside a human body. This would allow the immune system to recognise the virus as foreign and can therefore attack it with antibodies.

What ingredients are in the Pfizer Covid vaccine?

The main part of such a vaccine is a strand of messenger ribonucleic acid, also know as mRNA. This is around 2,000 biochemical letters of genetic code that carry the instructions to help a person’s immune system recognise the disease - Covid in this case.

Pfizer’s vaccine is reported to use 30 micrograms of RNA.

At present, the full list of ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine has not been released.

Pfizer and BioNtech have yet to reveal an ingredients list for their vaccine
Pfizer and BioNtech have yet to reveal an ingredients list for their vaccine. Picture: PA

What ingredients are in a traditional vaccine?

This varies on each vaccine but ingredients can include aluminium, squalene oil (found in the flu vaccine), gelatine, emulsifiers and sorbitol.

Sometimes vaccinations can contain eggs, taste improvers and other more rare and strange ingredients like parts of shark livers.