The Pfizer Covid Vaccine Explained

George J. Ziogas

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The Pfizer Covid vaccine is a key component in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Long before coronavirus was reported, two biomedical firms, Pfizer and BioNTech, partnered to begin developing mRNA vaccines.

When COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic, these companies had already developed the framework to create an effective vaccine quickly. But before their vaccine could be authorized for use, it went through extensive clinical trials. Because of this research and study, the Pfizer vaccine is available today.

mRNA Vaccine Technology

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the mRNA vaccine against Covid, unlike previous vaccines, does not use the virus itself to boost the body’s immune response. Instead, an mRNA vaccine teaches the body’s cells to build the correct protein to signal immunity against the virus. The framework of mRNA vaccines allows scientists to program it to create a suitable protein for any virus.

This significantly decreases the time until an effective vaccine can be developed. Scientists first determine the correct protein for a virus, then program the mRNA framework for that protein. Previous vaccines required the use of live or weakened viruses to produce immunity.

The first study on mRNA technology was published in the journal Science in 1990. In this study, mice were injected with mRNA, and researchers determined that they did develop a protein in response.

According to studies in the journals Nature and Nature Biotechnology, mRNA vaccines have been studied for influenza A and Zika viruses. Because of years of previous research, scientists were able to use mRNA technology against COVID-19.

Timeline

August 16, 2018 - Pfizer and BioNTech partner to develop mRNA vaccines.

March 11, 2020 – The World Health Organization(WHO) declares COVID-19 a global pandemic.

March 17, 2020 – Pfizer and BioNTech announce a plan to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

April 29, 2020 - Phase 1 vaccine testing on humans begins in Germany.

May 5, 2020 – First dose given to study participant in the United States.

July 13, 2020 – After initial positive results, Pfizer vaccine given Fast Track designation.

August 12, 2020 – Peer-reviewed Phase 1 data published.

September 12, 2020 – After peer review, expanding the vaccine trial is proposed.

November 18, 2020 – Phases 1, 2, and 3 of vaccine trial completed.

November 20, 2020 – Vaccine submitted to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization.

December 2, 2020 – Emergency Use Authorization granted by the FDA.

December 11, 2020 – First vaccine administered under Emergency Use Authorization.

In 2018, Pfizer and BioNTech partnered to begin developing various mRNA vaccines. The vaccine went through three phases of trials before being approved for use. Fast Track designation allowed Pfizer to work closely with the FDA to gain approval.

Emergency Use Authorization allowed the vaccine to be used quickly because of the severity of the pandemic. The data from the clinical trials was peer-reviewed and submitted to the FDA before authorization was granted.

Vaccine Profile

The Pfizer vaccine is given in two doses, 21 days apart, to people 16 years of age and older. This allows the immune system to recognize and build the protein and the immune system to respond fully. A person has immunity two weeks after the second dose.

The vaccine does not contain: eggs; preservatives; latex.

mRNA vaccines are delicate, and the Pfizer Covid vaccine must be kept at ultra-low temperatures until use.

Side Effects

Because the body is building immunity to the COVID-19 virus, it is common to have symptoms after receiving the vaccine. You may experience symptoms after the first or second dose. Symptoms may include:

· Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site

· Tiredness and Fatigue

· Headache

· Muscle Pain

· Chills

· Fever

· Nausea

These symptoms typically resolve within a few days. The CDC is tracking vaccine symptoms through an app called V-Safe. People who experience symptoms can report them through the app. This information is part of ongoing safety studies, even though the vaccine is currently being used.

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