Moderna vaccine — safety AND side effects
Disclaimer: Not medical or professional advice.
Why do you need a COVID-19 vaccine?
The purpose of any vaccination is to train the immune system to combat the virus. Therefore, vaccination is the easiest, safest and fastest way to protect yourself from catching coronavirus.
The COVID-19 vaccine works in three ways.
- Trains the immune system to produce antibodies to the virus in order to prevent sickness in case of COVID-19 exposure. Antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins) are special proteins produced by our immune cells when the body first encounters dangerous viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Antibodies instantly recognize the old enemy and quickly destroy the virus before it has a chance to replicate and cause harm to the body.
- Reduces the risk of complications and severe illness in infected persons.
- It prevents the viral spread and gradually ends an epidemic.
The vaccine is authorized for use in persons 18 years of age and older. A patient will need to get 2 shots into the upper arm muscle 28 days apart.
The results of clinical trials have shown that 94.1% of patients developed immunity to coronavirus 14 days after getting both injections.
Moderna Side Effects
Following the first, but more often the second dose of the vaccine, the most common side effects found in patients were.
- Pain – 70.1%,
- Fatigue – 29.7%,
- Headache – 26.0%,
- Muscle pain – 19.6%,
- Chills – 9.3%,
- Fever – 9.1%,
- Swelling at the injection site – 13.4%,
- Joint pain – 8.6%,
- Nausea – 7.7%.
Less often, the patients complained of dizziness, fever, limb pain, shortness of breath, and allergic reactions. The discomfort they experienced after vaccination resembled symptoms of the flu. As a rule, side effects were gone in 1-2 days.
How The COVID-19 Vaccine Works
Three types of vaccines train our immune system to recognize the coronavirus promptly.
- Protein-based subunit vaccines.
To generate this vaccine, a part of the protein envelope, the S protein, is taken from the SARS-CoV-2 cell. The immune system recognizes it and starts to create antibodies. Protein is the basis of all living cells. It is an essential part of every living organism on the planet. Enzymes, which speed up various chemical reactions such as digestion, are proteins. Tendons, muscles, hair, and nails are proteins (collagen, elastin, keratin).
These vaccines are the easiest to manufacture and, therefore, cost less compared to their competitors. However, there is a downside to them: COVID-19 mutates rapidly, which means that the protein itself is changing. So, in a year, a person will need to be given a new vaccine.
- Vector-based vaccines.
This type of vaccine uses unrelated viruses (for example, adenoviruses) modified by inserting a little bit of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material into it. As a result, harmless viruses become a taxi (vector), which carries a small part of COVID-19. The immune system immediately recognizes such intruder as an antigen and builds an army of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Antigens are any substances perceived by the human body as foreign and potentially dangerous.
- mRNA vaccines, which include Pfizer and Moderna.
This vaccine works by taking a fragment of the SARS-CoV-2’s RNA in a lab and injecting it into the human body. RNA is a messenger carrying information used by cells to make a protein. Interestingly, the cells do not care whether it is a viral protein or any other kind they need to build. They follow the RNA instructions.
Should we inject the full RNA code of the coronavirus with the vaccine, our cells would be actively replicating it. The mRNA vaccine, however, does not contain a full code but only instructions for making the coronavirus spikes, which stick to a human cell.
Once these RNA instructions enter the body, our cells begin to actively create spike proteins of the real coronavirus that are completely harmless on their own. The immune system recognizes the spike protein and begins producing antibodies to fight it off.
So, if a real coronavirus enters the body of a vaccinated person, it will not have enough time to replicate. The immune system will instantly destroy any virus containing the already familiar spike proteins.