What's in a vaccine?
Vaccines teach the body’s immune system how to fight the virus if you catch it.
Covid vaccines contain a fragment of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material
Covid vaccines contain a fragment of genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19. The vaccines trigger your body’s natural production of immune cells (antibodies and T cells) to protect against Covid-19 disease. These immune cells will protect you and fight the virus if you come across it in the future.
The main ingredient is water
The main ingredient is actually water, with preservatives and stabilisers. The active ingredient is the fragment of genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. None of the ingredients in the vaccine can cause you to get Covid-19 itself.
The vaccines are halal, vegetarian and vegan
The vaccines being used in the UK do not contain animal or foetal products, mercury or egg. The vaccines are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. The Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines are halal. Although there is no information on halal certification for the Moderna vaccine, it is recommended by the British Islamic Medical Association.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines do not contain any alcohol. The Oxford/AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines contain a very small amount of alcohol (ethanol), which is less than what is found in natural foods, such as bread and is not enough to cause any noticeable effects.
The ingredients for the vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:This content has been reviewed by clinicians and public health professionals Page last reviewed: 10 August, 2021