Pfizer vaccine ingredients: What is in the Pfizer Covid vaccine?

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The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the vaccine from Pfizer, paving the way for mass vaccination. Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, has confirmed the vaccine, which offers up to 95 percent protection against Covid-19, is safe to be rolled out to the public. The first doses are already on their way to the UK, with 800,000 due in the coming days, Pfizer said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS will be contacting people when it’s time for them to be vaccinated.

What is in the Pfizer Covid vaccine?

The new Pfizer Covid vaccine is an mRNA immunisation.

MRNA is short for Messenger Ribonucleic acid and is present in all living cells naturally.

The definition of mRNA is that it acts as a messenger carrying information and instructions embedded in DNA.

The new mRNA vaccine is said to use small pieces of Covid-19’s genetic code to start producing the virus inside the body. 

This allows the immune system to recognise the virus as a foreign body inside human beings.

Once this step is done, the immune system can recognise the virus as foreign and attack it with antibodies.

The main part of the Pfizer’s new Covid mRNA vaccine is a strand of messenger Ribonucleic Acid.

Pfizer’s vaccine is reported to use 30 micrograms of mRNA, but at present, the full list of ingredients for this particular vaccine hasn’t been published.

What ingredients are normally in a vaccine?

The key ingredient in all vaccines is one, or more, active ingredients.

Active ingredients are the element of the vaccine made from viruses or bacteria, also called antigens.

Vaccines contain tiny quantities of active ingredients, usually just a few micrograms (millionth of a gram) per jab.

To give some idea of just how small micrograms are, one paracetamol tablet has 500milligrams of the drug, several thousands more than any active ingredient found in any vaccine.

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Some vaccines contain whole bacteria or viruses.

But in these cases, the bacteria or virus will either be severely diluted so it’s unable to cause disease in healthy people, or killed altogether, which makes it an inactive ingredient.

Many vaccines only contain parts of viruses or bacteria, usually proteins or sugars from the surface.

These are safe for human consumption because they work by stimulating the immune system without actually causing disease.

Compared to the number of bacteria and viruses in the environment that our immune systems have to deal with on a daily basis, active ingredients found in vaccine are miniscule.

Most bacterial vaccines contain just a few proteins or sugars from the relevant bacterium, but by contrast, 100 trillion bacteria are estimated to live on the skin of the average human, each of them containing thousands of proteins which constantly challenge the immune system.

Vaccines also contain some added ingredients, such as aluminium salts, which help improve the immune system’s response to the jab, or other products that act as preservatives and stabilisers.

These are often listen on vaccine information leaflets as ‘excipients’, or inactive ingredients, and just like the vaccine, most of the medicines you are accustomed to ingesting also contain excipients.

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