top of page

Vaccine Archive

Ingredient lists for vaccines that are not routinely used or recommended

Johnson & Johnson
(Janssen)

This is one of the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Ingredients:

Active ingredients:

This vaccine uses a version of adenovirus that is modified so that it cannot replicate or make you sick. This modified virus contains genetic material that encodes the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

Your body uses this genetic information to create the spike protein, which cannot cause disease on its own, but it acts as an antigen and teaches your body how to respond if it is exposed to the virus in the future. This protein is displayed on the surface of the cell, which prompts the immune system to create antibodies that protect you from future infections.

Inactive ingredients:

Salts: help maintain the stability and pH of the vaccine

Acids: improve the stability of the vaccine

Other:

Janssen Sources

Oral Poliovirus Vaccine (OPV)

This is one of the vaccines that protects against polio.

Ingredients:

Active ingredients:

Live, attenuated Polioviruses types 1 and 3. 

Inactive ingredients:
Ingredient amounts are not listed in the package insert

Zostavax

This is one of the shingles vaccines

Ingredients:

Active ingredients:

Live, attenuated varicella-zoster virus

Inactive ingredients:
Amounts are based on a 0.65 mL dose

Salts: help maintain the stability and pH of the vaccine

Carbohydrates (sugars): normally used as stabilizers in vaccines

Other:

Some religions such as Islam and Judaism prohibit the consumption of porcine (pork) products. However, according to Jewish law, this does not extend to vaccines because it is not oral consumption. In addition, in Islam, the use of porcine gelatin in vaccines is permitted if lives are at risk and there are no alternatives.

Zostavax Sources

Relevant Terms

  • Adenoviruses: a common family of viruses. These viruses can cause cold-like symptoms, conjunctivitis (pink eye), sore throat, and other symptoms. The version used in adenovirus vector vaccines is not able to cause these symptoms and cannot replicate. 

  • Adenovirus vector: a version of an adenovirus that cannot replicate or cause disease. In this vaccine, it is used to deliver genetic information so that the body can make the spike protein.

  • Antibody: a protein made by the immune system in response to a foreign particle (antigen). These proteins circulate in the blood and help defend the body against the substance.

  • Anticoagulant: a medicine that prevents blood from clotting too easily. Clotting is very important because it prevents people from bleeding too much if they get injured, but if blood clots too easily, it can harden and get stuck in the body. If a blood clot gets stuck, it can cause heart attacks, strokes, and other dangerous conditions. 

  • Antigen: This is any substance that triggers the immune system to create antibodies. For example, allergens such as pollen are antigens.

  • Attenuated: The pathogen is weakened but not completely inactivated. Attenuated pathogens are too weak to cause disease in almost all people. 

  • Carbohydrates: Another word for sugars

  • Emulsifier: a substance that helps to keep the ingredients mixed together

  • pH: a measure of how acidic or basic a solution is. The scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very basic). A pH of 7 is neutral.

  • Spike protein: the protein in SARS-CoV-2 that allows the virus to recognize and attach to host cells.

  • Viral vector: a version of a virus that has been modified to contain genetic information from another source (in this case, the genetic information to make the spike protein). 

Last updated: Sep. 24, 2023

bottom of page