COVID-19 Vaccine

It looks like the beginning of the end of COVID-19 with Vaccinations becoming available, Finally!

How Does it Work?

Currently the two vaccine options are from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the biotechnology company Moderna whom both offer a novel mRNA vaccine. This is the first mRNA vaccine ever created. All other current vaccines fall into 3 categories, live-attenuated–the virus is disabled, inactivated – the virus is killed, and subunit- a part of the virus is given. This mRNA vaccine is possible due to the lipid nanoparticle the mRNA is enveloped in so that it won’t get degraded and be delivered to the appropriate cells. The mRNA codes for Spike proteins that exactly match spike proteins on Sars Cov-2 therefore creating antibodies directly against the virus. The mRNA vaccine has shown to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the clinical trials.

What is the Difference Between the Two Vaccines?

The two vaccines are nearly identical except for the time between shots and the dosage. The Pfizer vaccine is given in 2 doses 21 days apart while the Moderna vaccine is given in two doses but 28 days apart. Pfizer’s vaccine contains 30 micrograms of the vaccine while Moderna has a larger dose of 100 micrograms.

Are There Side Effects and What Do they Mean?

The most common reported side effects which typically lasted a few days were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscles pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Most people had mild side effects, but few had severe side effects defined as affecting a person’s ability to do daily activity. These side effects were more common after the second dose.  To be clear these side effects are a sign of an immune system response kicking into gear and don’t necessarily signal that the vaccine is unsafe.