Q. What are the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines?
A. Besides the active ingredients which help the body produce a protective immune response against the COVID-19 virus, depending on the vaccine, inactive ingredients include small amounts of polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, sodium chloride (salt), potassium chloride (salt substitute), sucrose (sugar), and citric acid (vitamin C). A full listing of ingredients is available at Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC.
None of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals or any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.
Q. What are the different types of COVID-19 vaccines?
A. As COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and then recommended for use in the United States, it’s important to learn about the vaccines that are available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide information on who is eligible and recommended to receive each vaccine and what to expect after vaccination, as well as ingredients, safety, and effectiveness. To read more from the CDC about the different COVID-19 vaccines, please read this article.
Q. What is an Emergency Use Authorization?
A. Drugs and vaccines have to be licensed or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. In situations when there is strong scientific evidence that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its emergency use under specific circumstances.
This type of FDA pre-licensure approval is considered for treatment or prevention of diseases that are very serious and occurring during an outbreak or pandemic scenario. For the COVID-19 vaccines, the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) indicates that the FDA has found the vaccine to be safe, however, studies regarding the full duration of protection against disease will continue.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers choose whether to make a request for EUA or routine licensure based upon the circumstances. The processes used to evaluate the current COVID-19 vaccines for their safety and effectiveness were no less rigorous than if the manufacturers had requested an adjudication for a licensed vaccine. EUAs are permitted only during emergent circumstances.
Q. How is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) different from full approval?
A. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) announcement, the issuance of an EUA is different than an FDA approval (licensure) of a vaccine. The FDA is able to grant a special type of interim approval called an EUA during public health emergencies. Just like full approval/licensure, an EUA looks at the totality of data and does a risk-benefit analysis. The FDA does a rigorous safety analysis and then looks at the how effectively the vaccine is at preventing disease in the context of a pandemic, when the disease is widespread and many people are routinely being infected.
If issued an EUA, vaccine manufacturers are obligated under FDA rules to continue their clinical trial monitoring and gather more data to fully understand how long the vaccine protection will last. Additionally, the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collect reports from those who receive the vaccines to develop the best understanding of common side-effects.
Q. How is the CDC ensuring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States?
A. According to the CDC, the U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make this and other COVID-19 vaccines available. For more information about safety measures, clinical trials, and monitoring systems, please read this CDC article.
Q. Can someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
A. No, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. Vaccines against COVID-19 use inactivated virus, parts of the virus, or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.
Q. Should I get the vaccine for influenza (flu shot)?
A. Yes, the annual Flu vaccine is mandated. It is important to get the influenza vaccine, particularly this year when both influenza viruses and COVID-19 could infect people. You can receive the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines at the same time. There is no waiting time between COVID and Flu vaccinations. You are encouraged to get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available to you.
Q. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine after receiving another vaccine?
A. Yes, . You may receive a COVID-19 vaccine before, at the same visit, or after other vaccines without regard to timing. Please consult your primary care physician or health care professional if you have specific questions about your circumstances.