Alt: A doodle carrying a messenger bag and a hat labeled “mRNA” holds up a COVID-19 playbook and says, “Delivery!”

Now that people are beginning to get COVID-19 vaccines, many individuals are eagerly awaiting their flip in line. But as a result of the primary 2 COVID-19 vaccines approved within the United States are a brand new sort — referred to as mRNA vaccines — numerous individuals even have questions on how they work.

If you’re nonetheless getting in control on mRNA vaccines your self, right here’s the gist: mRNA stands for messenger RNA — and the messages these vaccines carry are like directions in your immune system.

All vaccines work by coaching your immune system to acknowledge and struggle off a particular germ earlier than it has an opportunity to make you sick. Traditional vaccines use the germ itself for this “training” — both a weakened or useless type of the germ, or a small a part of the germ.

But mRNA vaccines don’t have any of the germ in them in any respect! Instead, they ship a small strip of genetic code (the mRNA) that teaches your immune cells to make and acknowledge a key protein — on this case, the spike protein on the floor of the COVID-19 virus.

Once your immune system acknowledges the spike protein, it reacts identical to it will to the precise COVID-19 virus — by creating antibodies to struggle it off. Then if the COVID-19 virus exhibits up, the antibodies shall be able to cease it in its tracks.

To spherical out this feast of vaccine details, strive providing your readers few tasty reality sandwiches:

  • mRNA vaccines can’t provide you with COVID-19. Remember, there’s no virus in them — and the spike protein can’t provide you with COVID-19 both.
  • The 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are secure and efficient. Researchers labored as quick as potential to get the vaccines prepared — however they didn’t skip any steps or reduce any corners. The researchers accomplished all the standard phases of scientific trials and gave the vaccines to tens of hundreds of individuals, so we might be assured that they’re secure and that they work to stop COVID-19.
  • mRNA vaccines don’t change your genes. You might have heard issues that the mRNA in vaccines may keep in your cells and have an effect on your DNA, however that’s not true. In truth, your physique destroys the mRNA from the vaccine inside a couple of hours after you get vaccinated. The mRNA exhibits up, does its job, after which it’s outta there!
  • Serious unwanted effects from these vaccines are uncommon, and getting vaccinated is way much less dangerous than getting COVID-19. It’s frequent for individuals who get the vaccine to get a headache or fever or to really feel drained and achy for a day or 2 — and that’s truly factor! These are indicators that the vaccine is working.

And when you’re spreading the excellent news concerning the new vaccines, bear in mind to encourage individuals to maintain taking other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 earlier than and after they get vaccinated. It’ll be some time earlier than most individuals can get the vaccine, so it’s necessary to proceed doing all the pieces we will to maintain everybody secure.

The backside line: Explaining mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in plain language might help ease individuals’s fears — and make it extra probably they’ll select to get vaccinated.

Tweet about it: Want to explain mRNA #COVID19 vaccines in #PlainLanguage? @CommunicateHlth can help: #communicateCOVID

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