Since the first COVID-19 vaccine was available false information has been out about what is in the vaccine and about how it was created. As a part of this campaign to continue to create a safe, educational environment about vaccine awareness, let’s break down the COVID-19 vaccine. Read on to learn more about the scientific break thru the creation of this vaccine, what the ingredients are in it, and things that are NOT in it.
Two significant reasons for the speed can be attributed to resources and processes. More resources than ever in history were dedicated to vaccine development. Those processes typically completed one after the other was completed at the same time. So, instead of the steps occurring like the cars of a train going down the tracks, they were completed in concert, like vehicles traveling on a multilane highway.
What is mRNA?
mRNA stands for messenger RNA, which is the blueprint for making proteins. DNA, which lives in the nucleus of cells, makes mRNA and ships it outside the nucleus to the surrounding cell cytoplasm.
How do mRNA vaccines work?
- It takes advantage of the cellular process of making proteins by introducing mRNA that contains the blueprint for the coronavirus spike protein. This protein attaches coronavirus to our cells, so by preventing virus-cell attachment, we can prevent coronavirus from infecting our cells. The mRNA delivered in the vaccine is taken up by specialized cells of the immune system, called dendritic cells. These cells make the spike protein and put small pieces of it on their surface. The spike-protein decorated cells then travel to a nearby lymph node and stimulate other cells of the immune system (B cells) to make antibodies. Antibodies made during this process prevent virus-cell attachment in the future.
What are the ingredients in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine?
- Lipids – These are molecules that are not able to dissolve in water. They protect the mRNA so that it does not break down before it gets into our cells. These lipid particles can be thought of as little “bubbles of fat” that surround the mRNA like a protective wall and make it easier for the mRNA to enter cells.
- Salts – Salts, similar to table salt, are used to keep the pH of the vaccine close to that found in the body, so the vaccine does not damage cells when it is administered.
- Sugar – This ingredient is the same as the sugar you put in your coffee or on your cereal. In the vaccine, it helps keep the “bubbles of fat” from sticking to each other or to the sides of the vaccine vial.
COVID-19 vaccines do NOT contain
- Animal products
- Blood products
- Egg proteins
- Fetal cells
- Pork products
- Preservatives (e.g., thimerosal)
While this is a lot of complex wording, educating ourselves on this topic is important. Vaccine misinformation can have dangerous consequences. Continue to follow along for more information.