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COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.

Since March 2020, COVID-19 has touched every part of our lives. We’ve been challenged like never before. At UC Health, it is our responsibility to provide a source of hope to our region. And now, we have a new reason for hope. The vaccine will help put this pandemic behind us.

Getting The Vaccine

When and how to get your COVID-19 vaccine.

UC Health is following the distribution plan set by the State of Ohio. We are vaccinating eligible community members.

Please check out our information about vaccine eligibility and distribution.

Safety

Clinical trials ensure a vaccine is safe and effective. Vaccines must go through rigorous research before they can be approved by the FDA. In ongoing COVID-19 vaccine studies, tens of thousands of volunteers participated, and scientists closely studied every volunteer for side effects and efficacy.

Jarelle Marshall recieving the COVID-19 vaccine

What is Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

The FDA can issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) when a public health threat demands a timely solution. The FDA reviews available data and decides whether known and potential benefits outweigh known and potential risks. An EUA requires regular safety standards are met in clinical trials.

Approved Vaccines

Recieving the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.

The three COVID-19 vaccines that have received emergency use authorization have shown to be effective in preventing severe disease from COVID-19. The mRNA vaccines from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose.

About the Different COVID-19 Vaccines

The vaccine is new. But the science isn’t. Scientists have been developing this technology for decades in the hopes that it would be the future of medicine. When the pandemic began, all that was needed to create a COVID-19 vaccine was its genome — the genetic code – which scientists shared in January 2020.

How They Work

Most vaccines work by taking specific pieces (proteins) of a virus and injecting them into the body. Some vaccines work by introducing a weakened or inactive strain of a virus into the body. The body recognizes the foreign protein or “attenuated” virus and triggers an immune response, creating antibodies that protect against disease. If a vaccinated person becomes infected, the body already has a defense mechanism to prevent illness.

mRNA, or messenger ribonucleic acid, is a molecule similar to DNA that sends messages to cells to make proteins. DNA is the genetic blueprint that tells cells what to do. mRNA is like a machine taking direction on what to build (such as proteins). The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine does not contain the coronavirus. Instead, it sends a message to the cells to create a protein that looks like a piece of the surface of coronavirus. The body recognizes the foreign protein, sometimes called an antigen, and creates antibodies that protect against COVID-19. After the mRNA sends its message, it is destroyed by the cell within a couple of weeks.

The COVID-19 vaccine is the first mRNA vaccine approved for use in the United States.

It’s important to understand that scientists have been developing this technology for decades in the hopes that it would be the future of medicine. When the pandemic began, all that was needed to create a COVID-19 vaccine was its genome — the genetic code, which scientists shared in January 2020. 

Side Effects

The vaccine is designed to trigger an immune reaction in your body. It is normal for the body to increase temperature (fever), or to activate cells, or send out signals to fight off germs. These responses are the body’s way of defending itself, and they can cause you to feel uncomfortable and sick. Therefore, you may experience mild flu-like symptoms, most commonly fatigue, headache, fever and muscle aches. You may also experience some soreness at the site of the injection. Most side effects are minor and typically go away within a few days. Less than 10% of people in the COVID-19 vaccine studies needed to take any medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) to treat these symptoms. And when they did, it was typically for just a day or so.

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

There are no known long-term effects of the vaccine beyond a week after receiving it. The science suggests there are not likely to be longer-term side effects, but we need more time to completely confirm this.

 

How They Work

The term “vector”  refers to a vehicle used to get immunity-stimulating material into the body.

The vector for the adenovirus vector vaccine is a weakened strain of human adenovirus 26, a version of the common cold. You cannot get adenovirus from this strain because it is engineered so that it cannot reproduce and spread to other cells in the body.

Scientists insert genetic instructions for the spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus into the weakened adenovirus. The adenovirus acts like a Trojan horse for the genetic material, entering the cell without raising suspicion.

The genetic material for the spike protein, however, is copied into mRNA.

From here, the vaccine works much like mRNA vaccines. The cell reads the mRNA (a set of genetic instructions) and begins making spike proteins.

The immune system recognizes the spike proteins as a foreign invader and creates antibodies to fight off the intruder. Because it is only one part of the coronavirus (like the tire of a car, and not the whole car itself), it cannot cause COVID-19.

The antibodies remember the shape of this particular spike protein, so if the real coronavirus ever enters your body, it has the defenses already in place to fight it off.


Side Effects

Similar to the mRNA vaccines, initial studies report no safety concerns or critical side effects of the adenovirus vector COVID-19 vaccine.

Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have a lot of questions about this vaccine and about your health, and we are committed to answering them as we learn more. 

COVID-19 Vaccine News

 

Resources

Where Can I Find More Information?

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine, you can also visit cdc.gov or your state or local health department for the latest details.

Contact Us

At UC Health, we lead the region in scientific discoveries and embrace a spirit of purpose – offering our patients and their families something beyond everyday healthcare. At UC Health, we offer hope.