Understanding the Different Types of Covid-19 Vaccines

As of May 2023, 68 million Americans in the US (1 in 5 people) were not vaccinated against Covid-19, had not completed their primary series, or had not received a booster dose.

Now that some types of Covid-19 vaccines are available, experts hope more people will feel comfortable getting vaccinated.

Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is not a “take it or leave it” situation – you have the freedom to choose which one is right for you.

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease

Did you know?

Corona means crown, and coronaviruses get their name from the crown-shaped spikes on their surface.

How do Covid-19 vaccines work?

Coronaviruses have a crown-shaped spike on their surface, called spike proteins. All authorized and/or approved Covid-19 vaccines cause the immune system to produce antibodies against the spike protein to help fight the virus.

There are two types of Covid-19 vaccines

They work differently from each other

Step 1: Depending on the type of vaccine, it introduces the spike protein into the body or instructs the body on how to make the spike protein.

Protein subunit vaccines contain spike proteins (parts of the virus that causes Covid-19), but because it is not the whole virus, they are harmless.

When you’re vaccinated, nearby cells pick up the spike proteins.

mRNA vaccines teach cells how to make copies of the spike protein.

Once the protein has been copied, our cells break down the mRNA and eliminate it.

Then both vaccines follow these two steps:

Step 2. The immune system realizes that the spike proteins do not belong in the body and creates antibodies to fight them. Step 3. Once the immune system knows how to fight the spike proteins, it will be ready to respond quickly to the real virus if you are exposed to it and protect you from Covid-19.

Step 3. Once the immune system knows how to fight the spike proteins, it will be ready to respond quickly to the real virus if you are exposed to it and protect you from Covid-19.

Both types of vaccines: protein subunit and mRNA:

  • They have been studied for decades.

  • It does not affect or interact with DNA and cannot change or influence our genes.

  • Does not contain live SARS-CoV-2 and cannot cause Covid-19

  • They are safe, even in children.

Why get vaccinated?

  • Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective in helping protect people from becoming seriously ill or hospitalized.

  • Covid-19 vaccines may offer additional protection to people who have already had Covid, including preventing infection from new variants.

There is a Covid-19 vaccine that may meet your needs. Knowing your options can help you choose the Covid-19 vaccine that is best for you and your family.

This resource was created with the support of Novavax.

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