Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccines
With the ongoing pandemic, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest developments in COVID-19 vaccines. Here is everything you need to know about the vaccines that are currently available in the United States.
The Different Types of Vaccines
There are three main types of COVID-19 vaccines: mRNA vaccines, viral vector vaccines, and protein subunit vaccines. Each type works differently to help protect you from the virus.
How the Vaccines Work
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, teach our cells how to make a harmless piece of the spike protein found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. This triggers an immune response that helps protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Viral vector vaccines, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, use a harmless virus to deliver a piece of the spike protein into our cells. This also triggers an immune response to protect us from the virus.
Protein subunit vaccines, like the Novavax vaccine, contain harmless pieces of the COVID-19 virus that stimulate an immune response.
Effectiveness and Safety
All COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the FDA have gone through rigorous testing to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Clinical trials have shown that the vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
Common side effects of the vaccines include pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These side effects are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days.
Getting vaccinated is an important step in protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. Vaccines are available to all adults in the United States, and eligibility for younger age groups is expanding. It is recommended to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.
Remember to continue following public health guidelines even after getting vaccinated, as it takes time for the vaccine to reach its full effectiveness and not everyone may be vaccinated yet.
COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be highly effective at preventing severe illness and saving lives. By understanding how the different types of vaccines work and getting vaccinated, we can all contribute to ending the pandemic and returning to a more normal way of life.
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