As people look forward to the end of the pandemic, three vaccinations are being offered in the UK (Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca) – all of which come with their risks and benefits. All of the vaccines available have been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MRHA). There are constant tests and studies carried out on thousands of people to further determine the side effects of all three vaccinations.
Pfizer and Moderna
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine uses RNA, a genetic material that is read by our cells to make proteins. Unfortunately, on its own, the molecule (mRNA) would be sliced and diced by our body’s enzymes if it was injected straight into the body. Therefore, this vaccination uses oily bubbles made of lipid nanoparticles to protect the mRNA. Due to this volatility, the molecules disintegrate if left at room temperature, which is why they must be stored in a refrigeration unit like the ones shown at medical-supermarket.com. Once thawed, this vaccine must be used within six hours otherwise it becomes useless. After two shots, your body is reportedly up to 95% protected from the virus.
Once it’s entered the body, the particles collide with cells and attach to them, which releases the mRNA into the system. The cells then read the molecule and begin building spike proteins. Eventually, the mRNA is broken down by the body leaving zero traces. Once the spikes are formed, antibodies begin to develop through B cells colliding with the spike proteins – these are then used to attack any coronavirus invasions.
This vaccine works slightly differently to the others. Coronavirus cells are studded with proteins that make good targets for vaccines. This vaccine uses double-stranded DNA as opposed to single-stranded RNA. Once injected, the adenovirus cells bump into cells and lock onto surface proteins. Once on the inside, the particles travel to the nucleus and store the genetic code. These cells then reproduce the molecule into mRNA. This method is more robust than the single-stranded method. A single dose of Astra Zeneca vaccine offers 76% protection, but a second injection is normally given.
According to healthline, the common side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine are similar to those felt after the first dose of the mRNA-based vaccines. The most common side-effect is pain at the injection site that can last up to three days. Further, in some instances, people experience nausea, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. The recommended actions are to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of water. In rare cases, people have been known to develop blood clots and serious health conditions, which is something being studied by health organisations.
At the moment, it is too early to call which vaccine is conclusively the best. The AstraZeneca vaccine offers a more robust formula from just one shot – but has been linked to blood clots, especially to those under 30. The mRNA vaccines work efficiently over two doses and are reported to cause fewer serious side effects. For more information, consult your GP before use.
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