This is a continuation of my thoughts on the COVID vaccine. In my last post I looked into the requirements for approval. We know that the FDA has approved two vaccines via an emergency order. The manufacturers are Moderna and Pfizer, both companies utilize the same technology known as mRNA. This is a big deal because this is the first time an mRNA based vaccine has been approved for human use. *warning* this is my basic high school science class understanding.
Let’s begin by reviewing the technologies. For this, we can refer to the background section of the FDA guide (pg 2 second paragraph)
“Commercial vaccine manufacturers and other entities are developing COVID-19 vaccine candidates using different technologies including RNA, DNA, protein, and viral vectored vaccines.”
Since I have never studied the science behind a vaccine or medical advances, nor do I have any connection to an expert in this field, I started following people during the start of the pandemic. Like Science.uncovered. I like her explanation on the types of technologies and her next post on the approved ones I am familiar with. Or take a look at this video https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/what-are-nucleic-acid-vaccines-and-how-could-they-be-used-against-covid-19. It provides a good visual for how the vaccines work. I provide two alternate sites to the CDC, since they only give an explanation for 3 specific types. I’m guessing they included 3 types as this is what has made it to stage 3 of clinical trials. Not sure, but I like to get information from a couple of different places to see how they compare.
I’m focusing on mRNA, which is known as a messenger RNA. It can be produced the fastest, and it enters our cells with code, not the actual virus. Naturally, the biggest question I have, WHY now? How did we go from never approved to now approved and awesome?
When the CDC states “mRNA Vaccines Are New, But Not Unknown Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades” I’m the kind of person that wants to know exactly when the research began.
So I googled medical journal + mRNA and got the following entry.
Full disclosure, I don’t understand much about this document. I focused on the Abstract, Introduction, mRNA design and mRNA vaccine portion along with conclusion. I feel comfortable with the technology and research has been around longer than 2020. I really like the idea of this helping in the fight against cancer.
Things I like to hear about this method:
- It does not contain Thimerosal (Thimerosal is the mercury stuff that many people feel is linked to Autism)
- It does not contain the actual virus
- The research and science predates the pandemic by a comfortable time span for me. (Since 1989)
Things that concern me:
- The genetic code/genome stuff
- It must be kept at a specific temperature
- The variance in ingredients/approved age range for Pfizer and Moderna products.
The genetic code with mRNA sounds scary. I already side eye genetically modified food and avoid them for human consumption. So the thought a vaccine might interfere with the human genome is scary. The various news outlets or guest experts advise it doesn’t. Where I’m hanging my hat on this, is from the the introduction of the journal entry. It indicates it does not interact with the genome. Seeing it in the document does provide a stronger argument in that it is peer reviewed and should have a correction or additional studies to dispute the information. With this paper being 8 years old and considering the fact the manufacturers are competing to produce a vaccine. The two who are already approved didn’t work together. They didn’t share to co-create or in cahoots. They selected this route, other manufacturers are taking a different route. If you do not want to take an mRNA you can wait for the AstraZeneca to finish its clinical trial, It will be viral vector method. Or if you want to go with Janssen it is supposed to be a single dose. Novavax has an engineered patented nanotechnology and 2 doses. As I understand it, all vaccines enter the body and essentially command it to trigger a response. My thoughts are, they all communicate and program is some fashion.
I no longer have a concern about the safety of the vaccine or the mRNA technology. I feel that by the time a vaccine is rolled out for me it will be well vetted. With the front line members of society taking this vaccine they will also be able to report any adverse reactions. In fact, anyone can report reactions to vaccines, and encouraged (link below) I’m not sure which brand I think is better. Pfizer has an approved vaccine on the market and partnered with Biontech who has the mRNA experience in their history. This is the debut vaccine for Moderna, who have focused on this technology since 2010. Moderna has fewer ingredients and a slightly better storage life. What are your thoughts? Take a look at the 2 information sheets linked below. You might be part of the population who shouldn’t take it due to other health issues. I was vaccinated as a child, had chicken pox as an infant and shingles in my 20’s. I’ve never had a reaction to a vaccine and do not anticipate a reaction to this version. I have the advantage of time and the game plan of promoting overall immune health as my first defense.
Moderna Fact Sheet:
PFIZER-BIONTECH Fact Sheet:
Repoting adverse reactions to vaccines: https://vaers.hhs.gov/index.html
As of December 28, 2020, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for three COVID-19 vaccines in the United States:
- AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine –https://www.astrazeneca.com/covid-19.html
- Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine –https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/fourth-large-scale-covid-19-vaccine-trial-begins-united-states
- Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine https://ir.novavax.com/news-releases/news-release-details/novavax-initiates-phase-3-efficacy-trial-covid-19-vaccine-united
You follow clinical trials: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/