Most everyone spent 2020 being concerned about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But as we enter the new year, hope is on the horizon with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s everything you need to know about the vaccine and the process:
The vaccine is considered a messenger RNA vaccine, also known as a mRNA vaccine. These types of vaccines use the cell’s process of making proteins in order to trigger an immune response and help build up immunity. This means that the vaccines do not contain any live virus so there is no risk of infecting a vaccinated person. In addition, mRNA vaccines never enter the nucleus of a cell and do not interact with a person’s DNA.
In contrast, other types of vaccines use weakened versions of pathogens to encourage the body to create an immune response and antibodies.
The two vaccines that have received EUAs – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – are so far the only products available in the United States.
Pfizer’s vaccine has been given emergency authorization for use in people 16-years-old and older, making it the first coronavirus vaccine available to the public. Moderna’s vaccine has now been authorized for people 18 and older.
Both vaccines have been found to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in clinical trial participants. According to the FDA, Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine has proven to be about 95 percent effective against COVID-19, regardless of age, ethnicities or other risks for severe illness from an infection. It is recommended that the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine be administered 3 weeks after the first dose.
Moderna’s vaccine has been proven to be about 94.5 percent effective against COVID-19 in people of all ages, genders and ethnicities as well. It is recommended that the second dose of the Moderna vaccine be administered 1 month, or roughly 28 days, after the first dose.
To learn more about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, click Pfizer-BioNTech Fact Sheet.
To learn more about the Moderna vaccine, click Moderna Vaccine Fact Sheet.
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