FAQ City: Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions Answered

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Across North Carolina, health care workers are rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The first shipments of vaccine arrived at hospitals in December after being developed and approved in record time. So how does the vaccine work? And when can you expect to get a shot? FAQ City answers your questions.

There are dozens of COVID-19 vaccines in development. The two we’ve heard about most recently are manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna. Both of these vaccines use messenger RNA, called mRNA, to turn your cells into factories that make one particular coronavirus protein. That protein tricks your body’s immune system into thinking there’s a coronavirus infection.

“The vaccine imitates the infection so our bodies think a germ like the virus or COVID is attacking,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina’s Health and Human Services Director. “This creates the antibody defenses we need to fight off COVID if and when the real germ attacks.”

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The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems.