[FACT SHEET] What is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?

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Malaysia is expected to receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in February next year. In the interests of clarity and succinct information to be passed on to Malaysians, here are some general information about Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine:

What is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a type of mRNA vaccine which contains material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Read more about how COVID-19 vaccines work here.

Who should get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people age 16 years and older. Because demand will exceed supply at first, healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination initially.

Who should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?

You should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine. 

What are the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. 

How is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine given? 

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is administered as a 2-dose series given 3 weeks apart and shot in the muscle of the upper arm. If you receive one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, you should receive a second dose of this same vaccine 3 weeks later to complete the vaccination series.

What are the side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?

Side effects that have been reported with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine include:
• injection site pain
• tiredness
• headache
• muscle pain
• chills
• joint pain
• fever
• injection site swelling
• injection site redness
• nausea
• feeling unwell
• swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)

How effective is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?

According to Pfizer, the vaccine is 95% effective. The phase 3 trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine involved over 43,000 people, about half of whom got the experimental vaccine and the rest a placebo. In total, 170 people fell ill with COVID-19. Only eight of them were in the vaccine group; 162 had received the placebo. Efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics, while the observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%.

*All information is correct at time of publishing and sourced from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention & Pfizer

**All previous posts about COVID-19 here: https://sciencemediacentremalaysia.com/tag/covid-19/

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