Letter to the Editor: Get vaccinated and boosted

Skeptical about getting your COVID-19 vaccine or booster? The two major companies producing the vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna, both use mRNA technology to produce a safe and effective vaccine that prevents COVID-19 or lowers the side effects. mRNA vaccines are NOT new and have been used and developed for many years. If the main reason you don’t trust the vaccine is because it was “made too fast” to be reliable, you should know that mRNA vaccines have been studied for decades, on viruses such as the flu or rabies. Plus, coronaviruses are not new to scientists. They have been developing vaccines for other coronaviruses such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), which has allowed for the speedy development of the COVID-19 vaccine. The process of approving a vaccine is rigorous and should not be taken lightly. Not only has the COVID-19 vaccine been through many clinical trials, but it’s also approved by the FDA.

The goal of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is to trigger an immune system response, simulating the body to fight off the infection. This is done through a multistep process which all starts with the vaccine being injected into muscle tissue in the arm. The mRNA in the vaccine enters the muscle cells in this tissue and tells the cells to produce a spike protein. This protein is harmless, and will only stay in the body for a couple weeks after the vaccine is administered. The spike protein made by your cells is the same one on the outside of the coronavirus. Unlike typical vaccines, which inject a weakened version of the virus, the mRNA allows your cells to create the protein. After the spike protein is created, it’s displayed on the exterior of the muscle cells. Your immune system recognizes something foreign and produces antibodies to fight it off. Antibodies are adaptive, meaning that they can be trained to recognize and eliminate viruses.
With Covid-19 antibodies already present, this makes it much harder to be infected with Covid-19, as well as shortening the period it can affect the body, lessening symptoms.

The only way to be better protected against the virus is to get the vaccine, both doses and the booster. There are many false conspiracies related to side effects of the vaccine such as infertility, magnetism, or altering DNA. There is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccinations cause infertility, and sudden magnetism couldn’t possibly occur considering the vaccine doesn’t contain any electromagnetic metals. Since the mRNA never enters the nucleus (where DNA is located), there is no effect on your DNA given they don’t interact. Being doubtful or suspicious about something that’s going into your body is normal! Still, it’s important to make sure you use reliable sources such as the CDC to get your information on the vaccine, not social media or other sketchy platforms. Adults should not be the only ones getting vaccinated, it’s essential children do as well to reach herd immunity. The coronavirus vaccine is safe for young children to older teens and has been through the most thorough monitoring in US history. The misconception that Covid-19 hardly affects children is dangerous, and it’s much safer to just get the vaccine without risking the unknown. The Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and so are other mRNA vaccines.

– freshman Stella Lichter