The vaccines used to protect against coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you. The coronavirus vaccines do not contain a live virus. This can reduce your risk of developing coronavirus and make your symptoms milder if you do get it.

The safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines continues to be checked while in use.

The coronavirus vaccine you'll be offered

A variety of coronavirus vaccines are available. You'll be offered the most suitable one for your condition or age. It may be the same or a different vaccine than you had before.

For a limited number of people, the vaccine you receive will depend on clinical reasons. For example, severe allergy or having a severely weakened immune system.

Are there are any reasons I should not get the coronavirus vaccine?

The vaccines should not be given to people who have had a confirmed severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to:

  • any of the vaccine ingredients
  • a previous dose of the same vaccine

It’s important that you tell the person giving you the vaccines if you’ve ever had a severe allergic reaction.

People with a history of a serious allergic reaction to food, an identified drug or vaccine or an insect sting can get any of the vaccines, as long as they are known not to be allergic to any component of a vaccine. A variety of vaccines are available and you'll be offered the most suitable ones for you.

Coronavirus vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg.

Vaccine ingredients

The vaccines do not contain any animal products, egg, gluten or wheat. They're suitable for people with coeliac disease. For more information about vaccines, visit the Vaccine Knowledge Project

The vaccine you receive may contain a small amount of an alcohol called ethanol. The amount in the vaccine is less than the amount in a slice of bread.

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Information about the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, including vaccine ingredients, is available:

Information for UK recipients on Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (adult/adolescent dose)

Information for UK recipients on Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (child-sized dose)

Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Information about the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, including vaccine ingredients, is available:

Information for UK recipients on Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Information about the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, including vaccine ingredients, is available:

Information for UK recipients on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Last updated:
11 August 2022