COVID-19 VACCINE FAQ
causes them to become activated and
respond. The result is the production of
neutralizing antibodies. If a person who
is immunized becomes infected with the
virus, the neutralizing antibodies will bind
to the virus and prevent it from entering
cells and causing disease.
Can the vaccines cause COVID-19?
No. An mRNA vaccine is not a virus and
can’t cause disease. Because it activates
the immune system, it can cause mild
symptoms in some people (e.g., fatigue,
achiness, fever). Based on data from
the clinical trials, the most common
reactions to the vaccine are pain at the
injection site, fatigue, headache, and
muscle aches. These symptoms are very
common with other vaccines, including
the flu shot, and are a sign that the body
is responding to the vaccine.
The other authorized vaccine uses a
modified virus that can’t replicate and does
not cause any disease, including COVID-19.
How do COVID-19 vaccines work?
Two COVID-19 vaccines use
messenger RNA (mRNA), which is a
set of instructions that tells a cell to
make a specific protein. For SARS-
CoV-2 (COVID-19), this is the spike
protein that is found on the surface of
the viral envelope. The mRNA used
in the vaccines don’t enter the cell’s
nucleus and has no interaction with a
cell’s DNA. It is also not a full virus and
cannot replicate itself. The mRNA is
rapidly broken down by the cell once
the instructions have been transmitted,
so it does not cause mutations or
cellular defects, and has not been
associated with infertility.
The other vaccine uses a modified
adenovirus that contains DNA for the
spike protein. The adenovirus is able
to enter a cell and cause the spike
protein to be made. Adenoviruses are
a source of the common cold, but this
particular virus can’t replicate so it
won’t cause disease.
Once the spike protein is made, it is
put on the surface of the cell, where
it is seen by the immune cells and
COVID-19 VACCINE FAQ, CONTINUED
When will a vaccine be available?
The FDA has authorized th