Vaccine Q+A: B.C. doctor debunks some myths surrounding the new COVID-19 mRNA shots
VANCOUVER -- MRNA vaccines have become a crucial weapon in the battle against COVID-19, but because they're unlike traditional vaccines, many have questions about their possible impacts.
CTV Morning Live spoke with Vancouver physician Dr. Rhonda Low to discuss some common concerns and myths around the new vaccine combatting the spread of the coronavirus.
Below is part of a five-minute interview, which has been edited for length and clarity. The full interview can be watched in the video player above.
Jason Pires: Were these vaccines developed too quickly?
Dr. Rhonda Low: Up to now we've only known how to develop slow vaccines, in the sense that it's taken a long time to make them in a different formulation. A lot of time was wasted between research and the stages and so this is really where necessity is the mother of invention. This pandemic really spurred global funding for the vaccines and it just provided all the research funds to allow for huge, well-run trials. So these mRNA vaccines are much faster to make than the traditional vaccines.
Keri Adams: What about the concerns that mRNA vaccines change our DNA?
Low: That's one of the most common questions that I hear. It cannot change your DNA or your genes. The mRNA is just a message … it enters the body to teach the body how to make an immune response to fight the virus.
Then the mRNA quickly degrades and goes away from your body. But what's left behind is a memory in your immune system so that, should the virus come around, it remembers seeing that message and it will go forth and attack it.
Pires: What about the belief that these vaccines have dangerous ingredients in them?
Low: MRNA vaccines are free of preservatives and they only contain the mRNA and they are wrapped around a fatty coating to protect that messenger to get it into your body … it doesn't contain any blood products or human cells, so it doesn't have any dangerous ingredients.
Adams: What about the argument that they're not safe until we get more long-term data?
Low: So far millions of folks have been vaccinated around the world and it has been several months now, because folks have been undergoing clinical trials. Now, we do have side effects, we have allergic reactions, people have sore arms, they can feel tired within about six weeks, but clinical trials have shown us that the vaccines are safe for what we need them for right now. The studies that are going forward are focused on how long the vaccine will protect us.