Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain live coronavirus cells?

No, there are no live or inactive coronavirus cells in any approved COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • Pfizer & Moderna: Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. Messenger RNA vaccines – also called mRNA vaccines – are a type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. They may seem new, but they've been studied for decades as a strategy to combat other infectious diseases such as Zika and rabies. In short: mRNA vaccines teach our immune system cells how to recognize and respond in case they encounter the real thing. 
  • Johnson & Johnson: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is designed differently. Instead of using mRNA technology, the J&J vaccine uses a disabled adenovirus to deliver information to your immune system. (An adenovirus is basically a common cold virus, and is not at all related to coronavirus.) It can teach your body how to defeat the coronavirus, but it can’t infect you, multiply, or make you sick. 


Last Reviewed: 10/25/21

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1. Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
2. Will a COVID-19 vaccine prevent me from getting sick with COVID-19?
3. I lost my vaccine card or need to obtain my vaccination records. What should I do?
4. If I previously had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to be vaccinated?
5. I’ve heard that there is pork and gelatin in the COVID-19 vaccines. Is this true?
6. Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain live coronavirus cells?
7. Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required?
8. How long does it take for the vaccine to be fully effective?
9. What if I have a weakened immune system or a medical condition? Should I still get a vaccine?