The Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine is now the first to be approved in the United States.  Initial batches of the vaccine are already being rolled out in New York where front line ICU nurses in Queens are receiving their first doses.

When a vaccine is approved in the United States, by law it must come with a fact sheet.  This fact sheet details all information a recipient of the vaccine would want to know.  Now that the Pfizer vaccine is federally approved, the fact sheet has been published and available to read.  Here at McDonough County ESDA we’ve had an opportunity to read through the fact sheet and want to share with you some of the most important tidbits.

Who should get the vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine has emergency use authorization (EUA) for anyone over the age of 16.  You will want to discuss with your healthcare provider first if you meet any of the following critieria:

  • have any allergies
  • have a fever
  • have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
  • are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding
  • have received another COVID-19 vaccine

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients of the vaccine or had an allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine.  Known allergic reactions have occurred in individuals who are already epi-pen carriers for other severe reactions.

The Ingredients

Taken straight  from the vaccine fact sheet:

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 vaccine administered?

The vaccine is administered in the arm muscle and requires two doses 3 weeks apart.  You will receive a reminder card for the second dose at the time of the first dose.

What are the risks?

There are some known side effects, including:

  • injection site pain, swelling and redness
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • fever
  • nausea
  • feeling unwell
  • swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)

The fact sheet also goes on to provide a variety of resources for anyone who experience rare but more severe allergic reactions to the vaccine, including phone numbers to receive more information or to report a problem.

All of this information, and more can be found at 

Stay safe, McDonough County!

-McESDA team