What is mRNA and will it change my DNA?
COVID-19 vaccine questions answered by your hometown doctors.
Dr. Katie Kroschel answers questions about the mRNA vaccines and addresses concerns about COVID-19 vaccines related to fertility and pregnancy. Watch the entire video or jump ahead to hear her answers. Links to specific questions are provided below.
Want to learn more? Hear from other Welia Health doctors as they address even more topics on COVID-19. Ready to roll up your sleeve? Vaccines are free and available—no appointment required—at Welia Health clinics and communities pharmacies. Visit WeliaHealth.org/Getting-Vaccinated for details.
Facts about mRNA
mRNA vaccines, including the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, do not use any form of live virus-like more traditional vaccines. They both utilize a technology called messenger RNA (mRNA). With this technology, a small piece of the virus’s genetic material instructs cells in the body to make the virus’s distinctive “spike” protein. After a person is vaccinated, their body produces copies of the spike protein, which does not cause disease, but rather triggers the immune system to learn to react defensively, producing an immune response against COVID-19.
mRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. In addition, the cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.
mRNA vaccines can be developed more quickly and easily. The process of making the vaccine can be standardized and scaled up at a faster pace, making development much faster than traditional vaccines. mRNA vaccines instruct your body how to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19, without ever exposing you to the virus itself.
mRNA technology has been studied for decades and been studied for viruses including influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus. Future mRNA vaccines could allow one vaccine to provide your body with protection against multiple diseases.