It has been well over 3 years since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. As a community, we have achieved milestones in trying to defeat the virus, the major milestone being the development of several effective vaccines against the disease. Although over 70% of Americans have received one of the several available vaccines, there still remains a certain portion of Americans who remain unvaccinated.
What COVID Vaccines Are Available in the US?
Currently, there are 4 authorized vaccines against COVID in the US. The available vaccines include Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines, Novavax’s protein subunit vaccine, and Janssen’s viral vector vaccine.
How Do Each of the Vaccines Work?
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines: injects mRNA, or essentially the instructions, to make the spike protein of the coronavirus, which then triggers and immune response in our bodies to build antibodies against the spike protein. These antibodies will “fight off” the virus if we get infected by the actual virus in the future.
Novavax’s protein subunit vaccine: injects pieces of the coronavirus spike protein, which then triggers an immune response in our bodies to build antibodies against the virus.
Janssen’s viral vector vaccine: uses another harmless virus as a vehicle to carry the DNA of the coronavirus into our body. Our bodies produce the spike protein from the DNA, which then triggers an immune response in our bodies to build antibodies against the virus.
Will The Vaccines Infect Us With The Coronavirus?
No, none of the vaccines contain the live virus. The vaccines only introduce portions of the virus into your bodies to help your body develop immunity in case of a future infection. You may experience side effects from the vaccine, such as a fever, body aches, pain at the injection site, etc.… This is, however, a result of your body developing an immune response, not because you got infected by the virus. These side effects tend to be self limiting, resolve within 24-48 hours, and can be treated with over the counter medications such as Advil and Tylenol.
Do The Vaccines Prevent Us From Getting Infected?
No, getting the vaccine does not ensure that you won’t get infected in the future, however, it does almost certainly ensure that you won’t get sick severely or hospitalized if you get infected. The vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus.