Advising individuals with religious or other dietary practices and beliefs on their suitability for the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

Jaskiran McPhail, Senior Medicines Information Pharmacist for Patient Safety, North West Medicines Information CentrePublished

Advice on whether people with religious or other dietary practices can receive the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine.

Background

Both the manufacturing process for Moderna 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 product content

No information is currently available about animal- or human-derived content of the Moderna vaccine.

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).

Egg content

The excipient content from the manufacturer’s information does not list any egg-derived excipients.

Excipients present

The excipients listed in the manufacturer’s information are as follows:

  • Lipid SM-102
  • Cholesterol
  • 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC)
  • 1,2-Dimyristoyl-rac-glycero-3-methoxypolyethylene glycol-2000 (PEG2000-DMG)
  • Trometamol (Tris)
  • Trometamol hydrochloride (Tris HCl)
  • Acetic acid
  • Sodium acetate trihydrate
  • Sucrose
  • Water for injections

The vaccine contains polyethylene glycol/macrogol (PEG) as part of PEG2000-DMG.

The vaccine contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per dose, i.e. essentially ‘sodium-free’.

Gluten

Suitability for vaccination is unlikely to be affected for individuals avoiding gluten.

The excipient content from the manufacturer’s information does not list gluten.

Jewish community

The Conference of European Rabbis has released a position statement recommending COVID-19 vaccines for the Jewish community.

Muslim community

Fasting (Ramadan)

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.

Halal certification

There is no information on Halal certification for the Moderna vaccine.

Thiomersal content

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’s information states that the vaccine is preservative free and does not contain thiomersal.