A: When someone is interested in understanding how the COVID-19 vaccine works, it's important to use simple, clear language. Keep it high-level (unless details are requested), incorporate graphics if possible, and be patient as you educate. Here's an example...
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines use genetic material created in a laboratory to teach our cells how to make a protein, or piece of protein, that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies. Once the immune system is activated it will begin producing antibodies, which provide protection if we are exposed to the real virus.
Medical professionals know the process that takes place inside our bodies is complicated, but by focusing on key steps, we can describe the mRNA vaccine in a way the most people can understand. Consider ending your conversations by assuring patients of important facts.
- Messenger RNA vaccines are safe and effective.
- COVID-19 mRNA vaccines cannot give someone the virus that causes COVID-19 or any other viruses.
- mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
- They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.
- Our cells break down mRNA and get rid of it within a few days after vaccination.
- Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines and are the preferred COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.
Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
How mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Work | CDC Infographic, English