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Understanding How the COVID-19 Vaccine Works

The COVID-19 Vaccine helps strengthen our body by developing immunity to the COVID-19 virus without getting the illness. With all vaccines, a supply of T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cells, will be produced to offer protection by remembering how to fight the virus in the fututre. If an individual is exposed to the COVID-19 virus in the future after getting vaccinated, B-lymphocytes produce antibodies will identify the atigens and attack the virus fighting off the virus. However, sometimes following vaccinations, building immunity can cause symptoms such as fever, which is normal as it is a sign that the body is building immunity. 

There are currently 3 different types of COVID-19 vaccines that are or soon will be undergoing large scale clinical trials (Phase 3), mRNA, protein subunit, and vector vaccines. The current FDA authorized vaccines are the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccine, which both use mRNA for delivery. This new type of vaccine contains mRNA which contains material from the COVID-19 virus that gives instructions for our body to create harmless proteins that are unique to the virus. Once copies of the protein are created the genetic material from the vaccine is destroyed and the proteins are what our body detects as foreign material so B and T-lymphocytes will be produced to fight off the virus if the individual is infected with the real virus in the future. Although it is new type of vaccine, the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards were still upheld just like other types of vaccines in the United States and those that meet the standards by the FDA can only be made available by approval or emergency use. In addition, researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines in the past. Interest has grown for these types of vaccines due to their ability to be scaled up and standardized, which allows an expetided development phase using readily avaiable materials. 

Most COVID-19 vaccines require booster shots, meaning that the patient must come in twice for the vaccine. The first shot starts building protection while the second shot provides the most protection. Getting vaccinated is one important step to take to protect you and your loved ones from COVID-19, which can be a critical source of protection against the virus. Utilizing all the tools possible such as social distancing, wearing masks, and getting the vaccine can potentially help stop the pandemic from getting worse. 


To find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine and its safety, visit the CDC website here. 

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