Answered by staff at Eastern Idaho Public Health
Many diseases are caused by tiny germs called bacteria or viruses. The germs are so tiny you can’t even see them. Vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to a specific disease. They protect you by giving you a version of the germ that is dead or very weak. The vaccine is imitating the infection you get from a disease. Catching the whole-real germ would give someone the actual disease. By giving a person a tiny, weakened, or dead part of the germ, they don’t get the disease, but their body responds to the vaccine by making antibodies and memory cells. If the bacteria or virus enter the body later on, the body remembers the germ and knows how to fight it off.
There are many vaccines used in the world today. Some diseases we used to see like Polio, Tetanus, and Diphtheria, are rare now because of vaccines. Some people believe that immunity from the disease is better that immunity from vaccines. Getting immunity from the disease can cause severe problems and can even kill a person. There is no way to know who will get very sick or need to be in a hospital. Vaccines, like any medicine, can cause side effects, but the most common side effects are very mild. Vaccination is the best way to prevent disease.
COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019”. COVID-19 is caused by a virus and people who get sick with COVID-19 may have a cough, fever, headache, feel tired and have a hard time taking deep breaths. COVID-19 is a new illness that has not been seen before and scientists and doctors are still learning about it every day. Scientists all over the world are working on treatments and trying to learn more about the disease and how to protect people from it.
We know that vaccines work and prevent many diseases. Many different scientists all over the world are working on vaccines for COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are over 150 vaccines being made and researched. There are several different ways to make vaccine and groups of scientists are looking at the best way to make the COVID-19 vaccine. You can see some of the ways vaccines are and can be made in the chart below. Scientist are using some of these same ways to make the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lots of scientists and other people from all over the world are trying to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies are in the process of developing and testing COVID-19 vaccines right now. Before being approved for use in the United States, each company will have to show that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and that it
works well at protecting a person from getting COVID-19. It is like buying bread. There are different kinds of bread to choose from, but they all work to make your PB & J (peanut butter and jelly) sandwich. You may receive one vaccine for COVID-19 and your grandpa may receive a different COVID-19 vaccine, but they will both work at keep protecting you from COVID-19.
What are the different kinds of vaccine?
RNA – RNA vaccines work by introducing a mRNA sequence (the molecule which tells cells what to build) to the system which is coded for a specific antigen.
DNA – A DNA vaccine involves the direct introduction into appropriate tissues of a plasmid – a double-stranded molecule which exists in bacterial cells.
Viral vector – Vaccines use live viruses to carry DNA into human cells.
Virus-like – This type contains molecules that mimic the virus but are not infectious, and not a danger.
Protein sub-unit – This type uses a part of the virus, the protein component. Can be used on almost anyone, with any type of health condition.
Inactivated virus – This type uses the dead version of the virus that causes a disease.
First vaccine approved by Pfizer is a mRNA based vaccine made from synthetic, not actual virus.