Both the manufacturing process for AstraZeneca and the presence of excipients may affect individuals perceptions of its suitability.
Below are facts to help you answer questions from patients.
Animal or human derived content
Information related to manufacture
The manufacturer states that the vaccine is produced in a human cell line. These cells are lysed to release the vaccine and the cell debris is filtered during vaccine production. The manufacturer states that the final vaccine product does not contain human-derived cells.
For further information about the COVID-19 vaccines please refer to Public Health England’s Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (the Green book).
Chapter 1 of Public Health England’s Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (the Green book) also contains a section on ‘How are vaccines made’ (page 4).
The manufacturer states that the vaccine does not contain eggs. However, AstraZeneca does not manufacture the raw materials used in its products, and the suppliers may periodically change. Lack of contact with other ingredients during the manufacturing process cannot be guaranteed.
The excipients listed in the manufacturer’s information are as follows:
- L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate
- Magnesium chloride hexahydrate
- Polysorbate 80
- Sodium chloride
- Disodium edetate dihydrate
- Water for injections
The vaccine contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per dose, i.e. it is essentially ‘sodium-free’.
The manufacturer states that the vaccine does not contain any gluten. However, AstraZeneca does not manufacture the raw materials used in its products, and the suppliers may periodically change. Lack of contact with other ingredients during the manufacturing process cannot be guaranteed.
The British Islamic Medical Association ‘Fasting and Covid Vaccinations’ Q&A document states that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine does not invalidate the fast and includes useful advice for fasting patients and adverse effects following vaccination.
There is no information on Halal certification for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Suitability for vaccination is unlikely to be affected for individuals avoiding thiomersal.
The Public Health England’s Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (the Green book) highlights that thiomersal is a mercury based compound used as a preservative in the manufacture of some vaccines for many years and has been associated with some safety concerns.
The manufacturer states that this vaccine does not contain any preservatives, thiomersal or any mercury derived product.
- Link to British Islamic Medical Association information about Fasting (Ramadan) added
- Page title changed from "Excipients information for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine"
- Page summary and purpose changed to enable application of excipients information in practice
- Information expanded to capture all relevant points related to diet and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination
- Advice from the Conference of European Rabbis added
- Information from manufacturer added with hyperlinks to relevant document
- Advice from British Islamic Medical Association added