It is amazing how the COVID-19 vaccine works (the mRNA vaccines, especially)
It intrigues me how the COVID-19 vaccine works! How effective it is, and how safe it is.
I got mine, #1, as of 12/29/20, and I got my 2nd shot a few weeks later. Update as of 9/7/21: I plan on getting my booster this or next week!
I got my Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on 12/29/20. I’ll post how I do day by day below at the bottom of this post. However, 1st, I’ll go over how this interesting vaccine works!
How the COVID-19 vaccine works “in a nutshell”
This is fascinating!
– It helps to know how RNA works (specifically mRNA)
– Look at the cell above
– We are all born with DNA that codes everything our cells produce. It is responsible for our having blue eyes instead of brown, or black hair instead of blond, or, yes… having funny smelling pee after eating asparagus (or not)
– Our DNA is “transcribed” (think it is as being translated) into RNA, and eventually messenger RNA (mRNA)
– Then, a part of our cells called ribosomes can read this mRNA like a food recipe and produce a particular protein (such as the one responsible for your 2nd toe being shorter, instead of longer, than your big toe)
– Ingeniously, they contain the virus’ mRNA that codes for those spikes you see on the outside in all the pics
– These spikes look somewhat like a crown. Latin for “crown” is corona, hence, coronavirus
– The mRNA of the virus (in the vaccine) is injected into your muscle
– It spreads quickly throughout your blood stream and body
– The mRNA is absorbed into our own cells
– Our own cells mistakenly think this mRNA came from our own DNA and instructs those cells to produce this protein
– The protein is the same one found in the spikes of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus responsible for COVID-19
– In other words, our cells produce just those pink spikes you see in the pic below, not the entire virus
– The viral spike protein ends up on the surfaces of our cells
– Our very smart T-cells of the immune system actually DO recognize these as being foreign
– They say, “we need to fight this off and protect us”
– They summon other players of the immune system as well to the battle
DaOur B-cells then learn to produce antibodies that quickly recognize those COVID-19 spikes
– The booster shot you get a few weeks later strengthens this memory
– If you were to actually get infected with COVID-19 in the future, your B-cells would recognize those tell-tale spikes
– Those smart B-cells would say, “This is a foreign invader we must destroy”
– They summon the rest of the immune system to attack the virus and protect us
– Note that many people will get a very sore arm, redness, swelling, aches, pains, fever for a few days after the vaccine
– This is actually the immune system learning to mount an attack. Think of it as a sign of the vaccine working
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER MY SHOT
Day #1: It has just been a few hours since my vaccine
I took some Tylenol and Advil to decrease my chances for the above side effects
If you get the vaccine (which I hope you do), ask your doctor before you consider taking Tylenol and/or Advil or Aleve
Day #2: Woke up with a sore upper arm muscle (deltoid) in the area of the shot. However, I expected this as usual with a good, strong vaccine. I’ll just take Tylenol plus Advil around the clock today to lower the risk of pain and to lower my risk of a flu-like syndrome reaction.
Day #3: Mild, tolerable arm soreness. I feel great! I am optimistic about getting vaccinated and feeling safer.