Community Conversation: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine

Community Conversation: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There are three vaccines that have received emergency use authorization by the FDA in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology to teach your body how to combat coronavirus. The vaccine delivers instructions for making a spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. Our bodies respond to that protein by making antibodies. So that when we encounter the real coronavirus, our bodies are already equipped to fight it off.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses DNA technology and an adenovirus from the common cold to teach our bodies how to develop antibodies against the virus.

“Think of it as a different transport or different delivery mechanism,” Dr. Ryan Shelton with Tryon Medical Partners said.

None of the three vaccines contain the live virus. Meaning you will not get sick or get the coronavirus from getting the vaccine.

Here are some of the differences between each of the doses:

The Pfizer vaccines requires two doses, taken 3 weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses, taken 4 weeks apart. And, the Johnson and Johnson vaccines only requires one dose.

No serious side effects were reported in any clinical trials of the vaccines, but it is not uncommon to feel soreness at the injection site, getting a headache, feeling tired, or achiness.

Some patients have reported feeling worse side effects after the second dose.

“Your body’s immune system is mounting a protective response so with that second dose is recognizing coronavirus, which is what we want,” Dr. Shelton said.

For Moderna and Pfizer, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose. For Johnson & Johnson, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single dose.

Experts recommend you still practice the 3 W’s even after you are fully vaccinated.

However, if you are exposed to someone who has the coronavirus, the CDC says you do not have to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated.

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