Understanding how COVID-19 vaccines work

For a basic understanding of how COVID-19 vaccines work, first understand that although the COVID-19 vaccines are new, the "technology" used to create them is not. COVID vaccines are types of mRNA vaccines, and mRNA vaccines have been studied for other infections like the flu, Zika and rabies, among others.

Vaccines work by training and preparing the body to recognize and fight off viruses and bacteria. Some vaccines use all or part of a live bacteria or virus to expose the body and teach it to build immunity. COVID vaccines do not. Watch the video below for an explanation of what makes mRNA vaccines different and how they work.

Can you get COVID from the vaccine?

You absolutely cannot get COVID from getting the vaccine. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA vaccines DO NOT affect or interact with our DNA in any way because it never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.

While the vaccine is 95% effective in protecting a vaccinated individual from contracting COVID-19, there are still individuals for whom the vaccine will not be effective for. This is a small number, but these people can still get COVID. This is why it is so important to continue to practice masking, handwashing and social distancing.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccine FAQ and information

Read these facts sheets to get answers to your frequently asked questions about the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines:

Register for MyChart

Main Line Health is utilizing MyChart patient portal to schedule vaccinations for eligible patients. If you are a Main Line Health patient and do not have a MyChart account, we invite you to register.

Register for MyChart