mRNA vaccines are a new, but not unknown, type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. Instead of using an inactivated germ, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
First, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.
Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is those vaccinated gain this protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.
They cannot give someone COVID-19.
mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.
mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.
The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.
More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/how-they-work.html
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines are effective at helping protect against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating, including the Delta variant.
If you are fully vaccinated you can resume many activities that you did before the pandemic, but you should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission to maximize protection from the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others.
You may have side effects after vaccination. These are normal and should go away in a few days.
Learn how to find a COVID-19 vaccine so you can get it as soon as you can.
BENEFITS OF GETTING VACCINATED
For the most up to date list of upcoming clinics please visit: https://www.rileycountyks.gov/1857/Novel-Coronavirus-2019-nCoV
At this time, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals 12 years and older. The Moderna vaccine is authorized for those 18 and older. Trials have begun to include children under the age of 12.
Generally, two doses are needed to provide the best protection against COVID-19. The first dose “primes” the immune system, helping the body recognize the virus, and the second dose strengthens the immune response. Moderna and Pfizer require two doses while Johnson & Johnson only requires one.
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.
Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose.
According to the CDC if you have pain or discomfort you should talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
To reduce pain at the site of the shot you can apply a clean, cool and wet washcloth to the area.
Call your doctor or healthcare provider if:
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
Yes. Vaccines are the safest medicines used in the United States.
COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offers protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions.
Moderna Fact Sheet
Pfizer Fact Sheet
Johnson & Johnson Fact Sheet
The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings. For related information for healthcare settings, visit Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination.
Fully vaccinated people can:
Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. To reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others: CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people:
Wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. (To find out the current level of transmission in Riley County please visit the CDC COVID Data Tracker )
Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 get tested 3-5 days after the date of your exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
Isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.