How Does The CoViD-19 Vaccine Work?

How Does The Vaccine Help Protect Us From CoViD-19?


“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By: Valerie Lai, Reporter

Everyone’s been talking about the CoViD-19 vaccine.

But how does it work?

Currently, there are three types of CoViD-19 vaccines in action – mRNA vaccines, protein subunit vaccines, and vector vaccines.

An mRNA vaccine contains material from the virus that causes CoViD-19 (Sars-CoV-2). The material from Sars-Cov-2 gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is distinctive to it. Once our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the vaccine’s genetic material. Our bodies recognize that the copies of the protein should not be there, and build T-cells and B-cells that will remember how to fight CoViD-19 if we are infected in the future.

A protein subunit vaccine includes benign proteins of Sars-Cov-2, instead of the entire germ. When we are vaccinated, our immune system recognizes the proteins as intruders and produces T-cells and B-cells, which will remember how to fight Sars-Cov-2 if we get infected.

Vector vaccines have a weakened version of a live virus (this time a NOT Sars-Cov-2) which has genetic material from Sars-Cov-2 inserted into it (called a viral vector). Once the viral vector is inside our body, T-cells and B-cells are made to remember how to fend off the virus if we are ever infected.

All three types of vaccines help our bodies produce T-cells and B-cells to remember how to fight Sars-Cov-2.

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