The Moderna vaccine is one of the primary COVID-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. How does it work? Are there any serious side effects? Read on for the information you need to decide if the Moderna vaccine is right for you.
Official Name: Moderna: mRNA-1273 (2 doses, 1 month apart)
Vaccine Type: Messenger RNA (mRNA)
Because the pandemic meant that vaccines were developed in nontraditional circumstances, vaccines that pass rigorous testing are considered “authorized for emergency use.” The following entities have authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use:
- 53 Countries, including the United States
- World Health Organization (WHO)
How it works
Messenger mRNA vaccines contain genetic material that tell your body how to make the S protein which surrounds Covid-19 viral cells. This prompts the production of antibodies that can recognize and fight the Covid-19 virus.
The messenger mRNA immediately begins breaking down once the body knows how to create S proteins. It does not interact with your DNA directly at any point.
Expected side effects
Just like when you’re fighting off illness, your body will show symptoms as it produces antibodies after receiving the vaccine. Common side effects include:
- Injection site reactions, like pain, swelling, and redness
- Body pain, fatigue, and headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chills and fever
- “Covid arm” – a red, itchy, swollen, or painful rash at the site of injection that can last several days after vaccination. Note that this is not harmful and is treatable with steroids or antihistamines.
Is the Moderna vaccine safe?
Some extremely rare and serious risks with that come with the Moderna vaccine include:
- For Those With Dermal Fillers: Lip or facial swelling can occur in those who have had cosmetic dermal filler injections in the past. Those with dermal fillers can safely get the vaccine but should consult a doctor if they experience swelling.
- Severe Allergic Reaction: Severe allergic reactions are very rare, typically happening within one hour of receiving a dose. Your vaccination provider may request that you remain onsite for monitoring for a period of time after getting vaccinated. If you develop the following symptoms and did not remain onsite after getting vaccinated, seek out emergency health care right away:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of face and throat
- Rapid heartbeat
- Body rash
- Dizziness and weakness
- Inflammation of heart muscle (myocarditis) and the lining outside the heart (pericarditis): These symptoms are very rare. In most people of the low percentage infected, symptoms appeared within a few days of receiving the vaccine. In the unlikely event you experience these symptoms, get medical attention right away:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat, or a “fluttering” or “pounding” heart sensation
- Pfizer and Moderna, both mRNA vaccines, give longer immunity than previously thought. Further study is necessary to determine what this means for booster shots in the future.
- Moderna is currently studying whether a third vaccine dose can increase immunity to Covid-19 in those who have received organ transplants. Currently, people who have received organ transplants or who have other immune issues have not gained full immunity to Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Scientists hope that a third vaccine dose can help boost antibody production and reduce the risk for people with these conditions.
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