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What are the differences between the Moderna and Pfizer Coronavirus vaccines?

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Learn the differences between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as described by Dr. Paul Vanak. Both vaccines are given as intramuscular injections in your shoulder. They each work best if they are given two times, a few weeks apart. Their mechanism of action is quite different.

Technology has come a long way since the 1950s when Jonas Salk used the killed virus to make the polio vaccine. Modern-day Pfizer vaccine production is a technique using the monoclonal expansion of the COVID virus coat protein in a bacterial broth that is then extracted and purified. The section of the coronavirus gene that encodes the coat protein is spliced into the genome of lab-cultured bacteria. Grown in culture, the coat protein is then made in large quantities and is able to be harvested in its pure state- with no chance of infecting anyone. This purified coat protein is then reconstituted and injected into your arm. Actually quite exactly how Botox is harvested. No viral mRNA or bacterial DNA is involved when the protein coat product is injected into the patient. The recipient of the Pfizer vaccine gets just the coat protein injected. The coat protein that causes the couple to the human cell is then seen by your immune system.

 


The mRNA (messenger RNA) viral gene-splicing technology that Moderna utilizes has been around since 1991. The Moderna mRNA vaccine injection turns on your cell function to produce and export the coat protein of the coronavirus into your bloodstream. The vaccine contains a strand of mRNA which enters your cell. Once incorporated into your cell the mRNA molecule has a very short lifespan. It turns on the normal protein production of your cell to make the coat protein. The mRNA is rather quickly broken down in the cell and is never incorporated into your DNA. You do not experience any sort of gene changes in your own DNA. What is then produced by your cell is the coat protein which is exported into your bloodstream.  Your cellular immune system makes antibodies to the three-dimensional coat protein. At that point, things are just like the mechanism of action of the Pfizer vaccine!  This is where your immune system takes over and starts mounting a cellular immune and memory response. Doctors and scientists call it “making antibodies” to the virus.

The actual purified coat protein of the Coronavirus is the Pfizer vaccine. Your immune system then creates a memory and immune response for when you’re actually exposed to coronavirus. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work very well.

It is not known how long after immunization the immune protection lasts. Nor is it known how long after recovering from coronavirus will the person lose their native immunity and are subject to re-infection. 


I personally encourage my patients to get two doses of either the (Moderna) mRNA or (Pfizer) protein coat vaccine once it is available. It is life-saving and will more quickly allow our whole society to open up through herd immunity. 

 

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Dr. Paul Vanek

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