The ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine have been listed in a number of websites, including government healthcare ones. This site claims that the list includes ALL of the ingredients of the vaccine. Considering that things like sodium chloride have been included on the list, that would seem to suggest that it is indeed comprehensive. The ingredients list is the following:

  • mRNA
  • Lipids (including ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol)
  • Potassium chloride
  • Monobasic potassium phosphate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Dibasic sodium phosphate dehydrate
  • Sucrose

I cannot help but feel suspicious about whether this truly is the full list. For a synthetic medicine, I would expect a much longer list with stabalisers, peservatives, adjuvants etc.

So my questions are: Is it reasonable to assume that this truly is the entire contents of the vaccine, sans water? And, where are the adjuvants? There is no aluminium here.

EDIT: I feel like I have been downvoted because my post gives the impression that I am an anti vaxer. I emphasise I am not. I just really wish to know what is inside these vaccines and how they work, and why the things that I expect to be inside are not. Because vaccine are such a sensitive topic now, it makes sense for anyone posting iformation about them to be very careful about what they include. This extends to publishing incomplete ingredients lists, which are not explicitly said to be complete (so there is no legal repurcusiion) although the wording makes it seem like such. I have no issue with some aluminium being present in vaccines. People consume aluminium all the time when drinking soda pops from cans. But, I do want to be fully aware of everything that is inside of them and how they work, and I think it is reasonable to when you are putting something inside of yourself. As someone with a family history of severe autoimmune conditions, I am also concerned about the presence of other adjuvants and I think justifiably so. Again, this is just to say that I am not an anti-vaxxer at all, but I am all for knowing what is inside a vaccine and how they work. And unfortuantely the scare around vaccines means that it can be hard to get complete information about them, because people with little scientific background may be scared by what they see in a complete list as they don't understand it. Thus it is discretely censored, and I understand why.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ An adjuvant increases the immune response to some antigen. No one wants any immune response to any component of these vaccines; including an adjuvant would be silly. I don't see how this question can be answered with any biology, though - you're basically just expressing skepticism about a manufacturer's ingredient list. They'd get in quite a bit of trouble with regulators if it's incomplete. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 14 '21 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Meep, I've answered your question. Though it seems like a better question to ask (and the crux of your inquiries) is "Why do mRNA vaccines not require adjuvants, but other vaccine types (like inactivated influenza vaccines) often do?" $\endgroup$
    – acvill
    Jul 14 '21 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Meep You do not want an immune response to the lipids or mRNA or any ingredient in the injection. You ideally want the mRNA to enter cells without the immune system knowing anything about it, you only want an immune response to the spike protein that can be used to identify active virus particles. You may not be an anti-vax person but you are really carrying a lot of their baggage. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 14 '21 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see the point of posting a likely disreputable site and essentially asking "is this right", when one can just access the official materials descriptions from the FDA, the manufacturer, and so forth. You also baselessly claim "Thus it is discretely censored, and I understand why" Those are the reasons for my downvote. $\endgroup$
    – Armand
    Jul 15 '21 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Meep Being destroyed by the immune system is the fate of every infected cell that is recognized as such cell. So you lose a few cells because of the vaccination, however these are easily replaced. The same process (but on a ways bigger scale) happens throughout your whole body (and not only around the injection site) when you are infected with SARS-CoV-2. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Jul 15 '21 at 5:49

The source for the linked article is this FDA factsheet, which gives the following description for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (emphasis mine):

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is supplied as a frozen suspension in multiple dose vials; each vial must be diluted with 1.8 mL of sterile 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP prior to use to form the vaccine. Each dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine contains 30 mcg of a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2.

Each dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine also includes the following ingredients: lipids (0.43 mg (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 0.05 mg 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 0.09 mg 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and 0.2 mg cholesterol), 0.01 mg potassium chloride, 0.01 mg monobasic potassium phosphate, 0.36 mg sodium chloride, 0.07 mg dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and 6 mg sucrose. The diluent (0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP) contributes an additional 2.16 mg sodium chloride per dose.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain preservative. The vial stoppers are not made with natural rubber latex.

The factsheet does not mention adjuvants.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks very much for this. The wording is quite waffly though. They do not claim to list all of the ingredients, just other stuff that the vaccine contains. Considering the concern over aluminium in vaccines, they might have reason not to mention it, but have themselves covered by not claiming it isn't there. $\endgroup$
    – Meep
    Jul 14 '21 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ You expect a statement like "This is a comprehensive list of ingredients."? No one does that. The wording is succinct, not waffly. The FDA has no reason to exclude ingredients from their fact sheets (e.g. note the mercury content of Fluzone is clearly stated). $\endgroup$
    – acvill
    Jul 14 '21 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ I am not. At all. But I do expect more explicit wording. Thank you in any case. $\endgroup$
    – Meep
    Jul 14 '21 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ I've edited my comment, sorry for the presumption of anti-vax sentiment. We get a lot of that here. Additionally, the hep A vaccine factsheet clearly states its aluminum content. $\endgroup$
    – acvill
    Jul 14 '21 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ Note that the temperature handling requirements act as a preservative, as likely does the sucrose content of the vaccine (dilution occurs only just before administration). The reason for the lack of adjuvants is covered in the comments under the question. $\endgroup$
    – mgkrebbs
    Jul 14 '21 at 19:44

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