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How the COVID-19 vaccine works

Conway Medical Center strongly recommends most people receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.  It is a critical way to protect yourself, your friends, family, and co-workers.  It is a first step back towards normality.  

We know that you may have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, including how it works and if they are safe.  It is important that each of us have all the information we need to protect ourselves and those around us.   Here are the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine.  

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by mimicking the infectious bacteria or virus that causes disease to stimulate our immune systems and build up resistance. Vaccines expose the body to harmless molecules that mimic bacterial or viral infections so that our immune systems are triggered and we build resistance to the infection.

How the COVID-19 vaccine works

COVID-19 Vaccine: A New Kind of Vaccine 

Many vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, contain weakened versions of the bacteria or virus, or just a portion of the organism.  However, the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are a new type of vaccine, called an mRNA vaccine (messengerRNA).  mRNA vaccines send cells a genetic message that triggers an immune response instead of exposing the body to a weakened version of COVID-19.  

The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine cannot give someone COVID-19, and it does not interact with human DNA.  It is also important to know that our cells dispose of the mRNA just like they do other mRNA.  

 The COVID-19 vaccine trigger our cells to create a “spike protein”.  This protein is on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.  The immune system will recognize the protein as foreign and begin making antibodies, teaching the body to protect against future COVID-19 infection.  

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?  

The short answer is yes. Early results from two studies of COVID-19 vaccines show that the vaccines are about 95% effective at preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19.  Moderna and Pfizer received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in December 2020, alloing them to safely manufacture and distribute the vaccine.   

When will the vaccine be available?  

 Everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will eventually be able to get one.  All hospitals in the state of South Carolina are following the guidelines set by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.  You can learn more about the phases here (insert hyperlink to phases)  

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