Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines contain 10 ingredients. Contrary to several conspiracy theories spread online, a government-planted tracking microchip to monitor Americans’ movements is not one of them.
For months, widespread videos and viral posts on social media have been unsubstantiated claims that such technologies could find their way into syringes that deliver footage. None of the rumors are true.
With millions of doses of the newly approved Pfizer vaccine circulating nationwide, the rumors have resurfaced and prompted the drug company to reveal what is actually in its vaccine prescription.
There’s one active ingredient in the vaccine itself: a molecule called messenger RNA, or mRNA, which contains genetic instructions for a coronavirus protein called spike. Once injected, the mRNA instructs human cells to create spikes, exposing the immune system to a highly recognized trait of the virus. The idea is to help the body learn one of the most important characteristics of the virus so that the virus will be recognized and quickly cleared if it tries to establish an infection.
The mRNA is broken down quickly and does not leave any traces in the body. All that remains is a molecular memory of the virus – the intended target of any vaccine.
Pfizer’s vaccine also contains nine other ingredients. Four of them are lipids with incredibly complex chemical names: (4-hydroxybutyl) azandiyl) bis (hexane-6,1-diyl) bis (ALC-3015); (2-hexyl decanoate), 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N, N-ditetradecylacetamide (ALC-0159); 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine (DPSC); and cholesterol.
These lipids together form a greasy protective bubble around the mRNA, which is inherently very fragile and would be cut into pieces if injected directly into the body. Wrapped in an oily ball, the genetic instructions have a better chance of finding their way into cells.
The vaccine also contains sucrose, or sugar, which prevents the nanoparticles from clumping together if they are frozen in storage.
The vaccine also contains four salts: potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, basic sodium phosphate dihydrate and sodium chloride. If that last ingredient sounds familiar, it should be: It’s table salt.
These common chemicals are found in a wide variety of treatments and vaccines that have long been used. The salts in the vaccine help adapt its contents to the environment around the human body, which contains its own blend of natural salts.
Jerica Pitts, Pfizer’s director of global media affairs, also notes that the vaccine is diluted with water and salt prior to injection. This is another step in ensuring that the balance of salts in the mixture is just right.
None of these ingredients contain or resemble microchips.