1. What is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine is given to prevent COVID-19 for persons 18 years of age and older. The vaccine contains messenger RNA (mRNA) which helps your immune system to produce protective responses, and has 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19.
The vaccine consists of 2 doses. The second dose is due in 21 days. You need both doses to have the full vaccine protection, and for the protection to last as long as possible. The vaccine has been assessed to be safe for use. However, you may experience common side effects, similar to other vaccines. These usually get better after 1 to 3 days. Section 6 covers vaccine side effects, and Section 7 covers post-vaccination advice.
2. Who should get the vaccine? Who should not get the vaccine?
You should get the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine to be protected against COVID-19, if you don’t have any conditions that make COVID-19 vaccination inadvisable.
You should NOT get the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine if you are under 18 years old, pregnant, have a history of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), or had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of this vaccine, or to any ingredients in this vaccine (see Section 5)
Tell your doctor or nurse about your medical conditions before getting this vaccine, if you:
- are pregnant, planning pregnancy or breastfeeding
- are immunocompromised, or taking treatment that affects your immune system
- have active or recent treatment for cancer, organ or stem cell transplantation
- have any allergies, fever, bleeding disorders, or taking blood thinning medicines
- have COVID-19 infection before, or received another COVID-19 Vaccine
The doctor or nurse will decide if you can proceed to get the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine. Persons who have weakened immune systems may not have as effective protection from COVID-19 vaccination.
3. How is the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine given?
This vaccine is given as an injection into the muscle of your upper arm. You should return for your second dose of the same vaccine in 21 days, to complete your COVID-19 vaccination.
4. What are the ingredients in the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine?
The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: BNT162b2 mRNA; (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; cholesterol; potassium chloride; monobasic potassium phosphate; sodium chloride; dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate; sucrose
5. What are the possible side effects? How do I manage the side effects?
Like all vaccines, this vaccine can cause side effects. Most side effects are mild or moderate, and usually get better within a few days. The table below lists some common side effects that have been reported with this vaccine, and how to manage them.
- Side Effects and How to Manage
- Pain, redness, swelling at the injection site: Paracetamol 1 to 2 tablets every 6 hours as needed
- Fever, chills: Paracetamol 1 to 2 tablets every 6 hours as needed
- Headache, muscle pain, joint pain: Paracetamol 1 to 2 tablets every 6 hours as needed
- Tiredness: Rest
- Lymph node swelling at neck or arms: Usually gets better by itself in a week or so
See a doctor if:
- The side effects persist or get worse
- The fever persists for more than 48 hours (2 days)
Very rarely, this vaccine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include: difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, throat, eyes or lips, a fast heartbeat, dizziness and weakness, a bad rash all over your body. If you experience a severe allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Go to the nearest hospital / clinic immediately.
These may not be all the possible side effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine. If you
experience side effects not listed, please consult your doctor.
6. Any Other Advice After Vaccination?
The following advice is provided for different groups of vaccine recipients:
- If you are on blood thinning medicines, press firmly on the injection site for 5 minutes
- If you are breastfeeding, you may wish to interrupt breastfeeding for 5 to 7 days.
- If you are planning pregnancy, you should wait until 1 month after your second dose.
7. How do I report side effects?
You can contact your doctor or vaccination clinic. Your healthcare provider will be able to advise you and report the side effects to National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).