The Moderna Covid Vaccine Explained

George J. Ziogas

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After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, various companies began manufacturing, testing, and seeking approval for the use of a Covid vaccine. Emergency Use Authorization has been granted by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to three Covid vaccines, including one produced by Moderna. The Moderna Covid vaccine uses mRNA technology to help prevent people from developing COVID-19.

mRNA Technology

The development of mRNA technology began over 30 years ago. The first published study on mRNA appeared in the journal Science in 1990. In this study, researchers injected mice with coded mRNA that caused them to develop a target protein. The Moderna Covid vaccine uses mRNA technology that received over 240 patents for the company’s proprietary work.

Before mRNA vaccine development, vaccines were made using either a weakened live or inactivated version of a harmful virus. By exposing the body to a small amount of the virus, the body’s immune system develops antibodies to create immunity to disease. Creating this type of vaccine was time-consuming because a new vaccine had to be developed for every virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mRNA technology uses a framework of RNA from a harmless virus. Scientists can program the framework to instruct the body’s cells to produce a protein associated with a specific virus and build immunity.

Once the correct protein is identified from the target virus, scientists program the mRNA vaccine to instruct the body to create that protein and begin the immune response.

Emergency Use Authorization

The FDA gave Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna Covid vaccine after a study was conducted with over 30,000 participants, ages 18 to 95. The study found that the vaccine was 94.1% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease.

Of the Moderna Covid vaccine participants, over 20% had one high-risk medical condition, and 4% had two or more high-risk conditions, including: lung disease; heart disease; obesity; diabetes; liver disease; HIV infection.

A variety of side effects were reported, including: soreness at the Injection site; swelling; fatigue; headache; muscle pain; nausea.

The side effects were primarily mild to moderate. The side effects happen more frequently after the second dose and are generally resolved within two to three days. According to the journal Scientific American, these side effects are common after receiving a vaccine because your body’s immune system works to build immunity. The Moderna Covid vaccine study also reported severe side effects, including: Bell’s palsy; lymphadenopathy; myocardial infarction; cholecystitis; nephrolithiasis.

These severe side effects were reported in 1.1% or less of study participants. Most occurred to both vaccinated and placebo groups. The CDC states that these side effects may be, but are not definitely, linked to the vaccine.

Storage

The Moderna Covid vaccine comes in vials of 10 doses and is shipped frozen to vaccination sites. Once defrosted, the vaccine can be stored:

· Unopened:

Up to 30 days refrigerated between 36- and 46-degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Up to 12 hours at room temperature.

· Opened:

Up to six hours at room temperature.

Vials should not be refrozen.

Instructions

The Moderna Covid vaccine is given by injection in two doses, 28 days apart. The injection is given to adults 18 years of age and older in the upper arm muscle. The vaccine does not include: eggs; preservatives; latex.

The CDC recommends that people who receive any Covid vaccine wait at the vaccination site for 15 minutes after being vaccinated. Rare serious side effects may occur within the first few minutes after receiving the vaccine, and this wait time allows people to be monitored by trained medical personal. All vaccination sites must have a trained medical responder on-site when giving vaccinations.

Because the Moderna Covid vaccine is a two-dose process, you must receive both doses to allow your immune system for maximum protection.

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