Let the data speak – more questions about COVID vaccines

Qing Yang and Kevin Parker

Our last article talked about the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination efforts and the importance of evaluating new data objectively. We’ve received several follow-up questions about the vaccines, so we wanted to address some of those.

What’s the difference in mechanisms of the vaccines?

The Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA technology. They don’t contain any actual virus. The mRNA is a tiny string of molecules encoding the spike protein of the coronavirus. After injection into the muscle, the mRNA enters cells nearby and instructs them to make the spike protein. Our immune system recognizes this foreign protein and produces antibodies which will fight off future infections. The fragile mRNA breaks down and disappears within days of entering the body.

Earlier:Health matters: Let the data speak – what we should know about COVID vaccines

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