SACRAMENTO, Calif — As California is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases across the state, many people have questions about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which the Guardian reported has an efficacy rate of 95%.
Here are some questions answered about the Pfizer vaccine.
Can the vaccine make a person sick?
Dr. Payal Kohli, an ABC10 health expert said there is no virus in the vaccine, so a person cannot get sick for taking the vaccine. Still, their immune system will be working hard, making antibodies and learning to defend against the virus, so they might feel some of the usual immune response symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches.
Why does the vaccine need to be kept so cold?
One of the downsides of mRNA is it’s unstable and is more likely to break apart at above-freezing temperatures, according to the Conversation.
Pfizer’s vaccine is ideally stored at a cool 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and will degrade after around five days at normal refrigeration temperatures.
Moderna’s vaccine, which is also an mRNA vaccine, is slightly more stable and can be stored in most home freezer temperatures for up to six months.
What makes the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine different?
According to the Conversation, one of the things that set the vaccine apart from traditional vaccines is made of, messenger RNA or mRNA.
In the past, most vaccines used protein from the real virus to teach the body how to defend against it. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine uses tiny fragments of genetic code that are injected into muscle tissue.
The body then produces viral proteins. For Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, it’s the blueprint of the spike protein the COVID-19 vaccine uses to enter cells.
These proteins give one’s immune system a preview of what the real virus will look like without causing the disease, but the body still learns to defend against COVID-19.