February 01, 2021 Healthy Living

Are COVID-19 Vaccine Ingredients Safe?

COVID-19 vaccines give us our best shot at beating the pandemic. In time, everyone will have a chance to get one. But in the meantime, if you have concerns about what’s in them, these facts may give you peace of mind.


There isn’t a live virus in the vaccine

Vaccines contain ingredients that help your body build immunity against a specific virus. However, not all vaccines have the same ingredients.

The two COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the U.S. are the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. They are a newer type of vaccine, called mRNA vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.

They don’t use live or weakened viruses to build immunity. Instead, they use messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA instructs cells to make a harmless piece of the virus’s genetic material called the spike protein, which is found on the surface of the coronavirus. This teaches the immune system to recognize and fight the real virus. But because the vaccine doesn’t contain any live virus, there’s no way it can give you COVID-19.

Also not included

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines also lack some other ingredients some people may be concerned about. They do not have:

• Preservatives, such as thimerosal (which contains an organic form of mercury). Most vaccines do not use thimerosal or mercury. And the type of mercury found in the few vaccines that do have thimerosal is not likely to build up in the body. In tiny amounts, it is safe in vaccines.

• Formaldehyde, used to help make some vaccines.

• Eggs, latex, or antibiotics. (Some people are allergic to these!)

• Microchips. Scientists are not putting microchips in the vaccines to track us. That’s a myth. In fact, it’s not even possible to do so.

Talk to your doctor

Some side effects have occurred with COVID-19 vaccines. Most are minor, like a sore arm. A few people have had more serious allergic reactions, but this is very rare. CDC says that if you have had an allergic reaction to PEG or polysorbate, you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. You can help make your shot even safer by telling your provider if you:

• Have any allergies or other health problems.

• Have ever had an allergic reaction to a vaccine.

CDPHP members can visit our COVID-19 information and resources page for the latest updates.

This blog is verified by a CDPHP Medical Director.

Anthony Marinello, MD, PhD, joined CDPHP in 2018 and serves as Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Marinello spent more than 30 years practicing medicine, most recently at CapitalCare Family Practice in Clifton Park, NY.

Alexa Kerins
About Author

Alexa is the director of marketing communications and helps with planning, writing, and editing alongside her team of talented communications specialists. She is an eternal optimist who likes food, fun exercise classes, traveling, and spending quality time with her husband, family, and friends. You can often find her obsessing over her mini golden doodle and uttering cheesy quotes like “you’re the bee’s knees” and “team work makes the dream work.”

16 Responses to “Are COVID-19 Vaccine Ingredients Safe?”

  1. Gary Law

    What about the JJ vaccine that i’m going to get tomorrow night at the NYS fair grounds ???
    What’s up with that ???

    Reply
    • Alexa Kerins

      Hi, Gary –Thank you for reaching out. We understand that many people have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccines than we could address in one blog post. For additional information, we recommend speaking with your primary care physician or visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines.

      Reply
  2. Ro

    I notice a list of things that are NOT in the vaccine, but no list of the ingredients that ARE in the vaccine. An article about those ingredients and their purposes as well as side effects of each ingredient would be more beneficial to helping individuals make informed decisions for their personal health.

    Reply
  3. Harold Jones

    You did not say what was in the vaccine!
    I took the 1st moderna shot and got a rash from ankles to neck. My Dr Delmonte saw it and will not allow me to get the second shot.

    Reply
    • Alexa Kerins

      Hi, Harold – Thank you for your feedback, and sorry to hear you experienced side effects. Working with your doctor is definitely the best course of action.

      Reply
  4. Jeffrey Pieper

    Son Jeffrey is IDD with us as guardians, he has had multiple allergies and codes and two resuscitations. One surgeon called is in after a colonoscopy it say they titrated slowly and had trouble. Used Narcan twice to get him out of danger that time. He has had at least 17 grams of Miralax at least once a day for decades due to neurogenic bowel. Spina bifida with constipation and part of bowel program….I definitely think the PEG in the vaccines is a huge risk for him and some scientists have challenged its use in vaccines. Some believe people should be tested for peg antibodies before an injection. I can’t get a straight answer just that the lipid bubble isn’t in J&J. Not a guarantee that it has no PEG. We can’t take the chance on reaction to PEG after life threatening reactions and resuscitations over the years. Elizabeth Pieper mother and NYS article 17 guardian for Jeffrey

    Reply
    • Chloe Pascuito

      Hi, Elizabeth – Thank you for reaching out, and I hope that working closely with Jeffrey’s health care team will give you the answers you need on how to best proceed.

      Reply
  5. Lisa Montanus

    I’ve heard that the vaccines contain aluminum salts, used as a carrying agent, I believe. Isn’t aluminum a neurotoxin?

    Reply
    • Alexa Kerins

      Hi, Lisa – Thank you for reaching out. We understand that many people have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccines than we could address in one blog post. For additional information, we recommend speaking with your primary care physician or visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines.

      Reply
  6. Diane M Ford

    Are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines derived from fetal cells (abortion cells)?

    Reply
    • Alexa Kerins

      Hi, Diane – Thank you for reaching out. We understand that many people have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccines than we could address in one blog post. For additional information, we recommend speaking with your primary care physician or visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines.

      Reply
  7. wilma allen

    I received the first Moderna vaccine dose and don’t want to get the second. Having fatigue,exacerbation of arthritis, some loss of taste. I am sure these are side effectsbut we are told the side effects from second dose are worse.

    Reply
    • Alexa Kerins

      Hi, Wilma – I would recommend letting your primary care physician that you have experienced these side effects and are hesitant to receive your second dose. They can advise on the best course of action for your individual situation.

      Reply
  8. Lisa Putrino

    I believe as a health insurance company you have an obligation to also present and disclose the fact that none of these vaccines are FDA approved, which in and of itself is of great importance for standards, safety and efficacy. Failing to do so, leaves us, your subscribers, without full and complete information. Also, J&J’s vaccine is also now available, and does use double stranded dna, and adenovirus vector in its vaccine.

    Reply
    • Alexa Kerins

      Hi, Lisa– Thank you for reaching out. We understand that many people have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccines than we could address in one blog post. For additional information, we recommend speaking with your primary care physician or visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines.

      Reply

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