Components of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Published: 2021-05-07

Ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
Component Function Known to be a potential allergen
Messenger RNA (mRNA)
Nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2

Active ingredient:

  • Genetic code that provides the blueprint for our body's cells to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the cytoplasm, which is then displayed on the cell surface and elicits an immune response
No
Components of the lipid nanoparticle that delivers the mRNA into the cell
ALC-0159 = 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
  • Forms a protective layer that stabilizes the nanoparticle, improves storage stability and reduces non-specific binding to proteins
Yes: Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be an allergen
1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC)
  • Part of the double layer of lipids (lipid bilayer) that forms the nanoparticle
No
Cholesterol
  • Provides structural support for the lipid bilayer of the nanoparticle and supports mobility of lipid components
No
ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl) azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
  • Main ingredient in the lipid-nanoparticle that delivers the mRNA into the cell
  • Cationic (positively charged) lipid that during the manufacturing process, promotes the nanoparticle to assemble into a virus size particle with the negatively charged mRNA in the middle, and facilitates mRNA release from the nanoparticle once inside the cell
No
Additional ingredients
Potassium chloride
  • Salt that forms a buffer to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
No
Monobasic potassium phosphate
  • Salt that forms a buffer to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
No
Sodium chloride
  • Salt that forms a buffer to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
No
Dibasic sodium phosphate dehydrate
  • Salt that forms a buffer to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
No
Sucrose
  • Sugar to protect and stabilize the vaccine during freezing and prevent the particles from sticking together
No
Normal saline (provided separately from the vaccine)
  • Water and salt solution added as the diluent to the vaccine
No
Notes: Does not contain latex in the stopper
Ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine Moderna
Component Function Known to be a potential allergen
Messenger RNA (mRNA)
Nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2

Active ingredient:

  • Genetic code that provides the blueprint for our body's cells to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the cytoplasm, which is then displayed on the cell surface and elicits an immune response
No
Components of the lipid nanoparticle that delivers the mRNA into the cell
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) 2000 DMG
  • Serves to stabilize and prolong the lifespan of the nanoparticle
Yes: Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be an allergen
1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC)
  • Part of the double layer of lipids (lipid bilayer) that forms the nanoparticle
No
Cholesterol
  • Provides structural support for the lipid bilayer of the nanoparticle and supports mobility of lipid components
No
Lipid SM-102
  • Ionizable lipid that interacts with mRNA
  • During the manufacturing process, promotes the nanoparticle to assemble into a virus size particle with the negatively charged mRNA in the middle and facilitates mRNA release from the nanoparticle once in the cell
No
Additional ingredients
Tromethamine
  • Base that forms a buffer and works to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
Yes: tromethamine can be a very rare cause of allergic reactions
Tromethamine hydrochloride
  • Salt that forms a buffer and works to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
Yes: tromethamine can be a very rare cause of allergic reactions
Acetic acid
  • Acid that forms a buffer to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
No
Sodium acetate
  • Salt that forms a buffer to balance the pH (acidity) of the vaccine
  • Helps to stabilize the particle
No
Sucrose
  • Sugar to protect and stabilize the vaccine during freezing and prevent the particles from sticking together
No
Note: Does not contain latex in the stopper
Ingredients in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Component Function Known to be a potential allergen
Sources of genetic code for spike protein
Modified adenovirus (ChAdOx1) containing spike protein genetic code

Active ingredient:

  • Adenovirus that has been genetically modified to not replicate and to carry the gene for the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
  • Delivers genetic code of the spike protein to the nucleus of the body's cell where mRNA is made and transported to the cytoplasm of the body's cell where the spike protein is then made, displayed on the cell surface and elicits an immune response
No
Additional ingredients
L-Histidine
  • Buffering agent: pH (acidity) control and stability during storage
No
L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate
  • Buffering agent: pH (acidity) control and stability during storage
No
Magnesium chloride hexahydrate
  • Stabilizer: protects the vaccine from adverse conditions (electrostatic interactions)
No
Polysorbate 80
  • Surfactant: stabilizes the adenovirus by reducing virus sticking to surfaces and minimizing interactions where the liquid vaccine comes into contact with air
Yes: polysorbate 80 can be a very rare cause of allergic reactions
Ethanol
  • Stabilizer: protects the vaccine from adverse conditions (prevents free-radical induced oxidation of the adenovirus)
No
Sucrose
  • Cryo-protectant: stabilizes the adenovirus during freezing and thawing, enhances the adenovirus' ability to withstand temperature changes, and acts as a tonicity agent
No
Sodium chloride
  • Cryo-protectant: stabilizes the adenovirus during freezing and thawing and acts as a tonicity agent
No
Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA)
  • Stabilizer: protects the vaccine from adverse conditions (prevents free-radical induced oxidation of the adenovirus)
No
Water
  • Liquid in the vaccine vial
No
Note: Does not contain latex in the stopper
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