A local doctor explains how the COVID-19 vaccine is different than others

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BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — With Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine being distributed across the country, many may have questions about how the vaccine would help them fight coronavirus.

“It’s a messenger RNA vaccine, which means it’s not carrying any dead virus or inactivated virus. It comes with instructions,” said Bay County Pediatrician Doctor Rubina Azam. 

Azam said once you receive the vaccine,  Messenger RNA is used to tell cells in your body to make more spike proteins. This is important because those proteins are found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. Once your body makes spike protein, your immune system will recognize it.

“Immune system produces antibodies to that spike protein, which because that is not a typical protein for your body. So again, it’s a totally different type of vaccine,” said Azam.

She said Messenger RNA technology had been studied for years in cancer treatment, and All COVID-19 vaccines are using mRNA technology.

“Some people think it will go into your body and change your DNA; the reality is the Messenger RNA does not enter into the nucleus,” said Azam.

The biggest difference between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is the temperature they are stored at. Azam said the Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at a much lower temperature.

Azam said her sister, a doctor in the United Kingdom, received her first dose.

“She got her first dose there and she is doing fine,” said Azam. “And all her friends are doing fine.” 

This vaccine is designed for your body to defend itself more effectively against the coronavirus.

“If you get exposed to covid or coronavirus, you can still get some sickness, but your immune system is prepared,” said Azam.

Azam said this COVID-19 vaccine could be available as early as next week here in the Panhandle. 

We want to hear from you, tell us how you are feeling about taking the COVID-19 vaccine right here on our poll.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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