Are RNA vaccines safe? We’ve never had one before!
RNA are like post-it notes (or, for the younger crowd, Snapchat messages that expire!). At any moment, a human cell has 5000+ different RNA messages. They are read by the cells and then destroyed within minutes to hours.
Because they are temporary, they do NOT become a permanent part of your body. In fact, they do not enter the nucleus of the cell and they never interact with a person’s DNA.
These temporary RNA messages instruct the cells of the body to make proteins. In the case of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, they message for one single coronavirus protein: the spike protein. This is the protein that the virus needs to enter the cells. So by developing antibodies to block it, you prevent COVID!
Now: remember — it takes 25 different proteins to make a coronavirus. So your body is NOT making a coronavirus with the RNA vaccine!
This is a great question because we knew that we would learn more about the mRNA vaccines as they rolled out. And the FDA discussed the data to date at the J&J hearing on February 26th, which covered over 55 million people having received a dose of either the Pfizer (over 28 million) or Moderna (over 26 million). They have data on nearly 4 million who completed at least one v-safe health check in. What they have found is that there was no difference in the safety data between Pfizer and Moderna, with most people reporting injection site pain, fatigue, headaches and myalgias within 24 hours of their injections. They also found no increased risk of any serious adverse outcome as detailed in the data they presented here: https://www.fda.gov/media/146269/download.