Breaking down what’s in the Pfizer vaccine

The science of the Pfizer vaccine
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 10:36 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The FDA meets Thursday to consider whether to approve the Pfizer vaccine. The rush to get it done has some in Omaha worried.

“I’d be a little skeptical,” resident Garry Beck said.

Beck said he’s leaning towards getting it because he’s a vulnerable citizen, but the speed of its production gives him some pause.

“I remember when drugs were fast tracked during the AIDS epidemic and of course some of them turned out to be good and some of them turned out to be bad,” Beck said.

UNMC professor of epidemiology David Brett-Major joined 6 News over Zoom and walked through the list of ingredients in the vaccine the FDA released.

The most important bit is the messenger RNA. It’s a dissected protein from COVID that tells your body to produce antibodies without the active virus.

“Our bodies are accustomed to handling messenger RNA. messenger RNA does not last very long in the body but it lasts long enough if it’s taken up by the right cells,” Brett-Major said.

To be taken up by the right cells it needs a little help. That comes in the form of salts and fats.

“If I give you a bit of protein that I’ve taken from something and I watch your body to recognize it sometimes put something in it to wake up the immune system so the immune system knows somethings coming you should pay attention to this,” Brett-Major said.

The list of salts includes:

  • monobasic potassium phosphate
  • potassium chloride
  • sodium chloride
  • basic sodium phosphate dihydratis

These are found in our diet and bodies and makes the vaccine the right PH to be accepted in our bodies.

The list of fats include:

  • (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis (ALC-3015)
  • (2- hexyldecanoate),2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide (ALC-0159)
  • 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine (DPSC)
  • cholesterol

These make the injection sight receptive to absorbing the vaccine and letting the medicine get to work.

“This allows our bodies to structure it just the right way that our immune system out to be able to recognize and be able to generate antibodies and be able to train our memory immunity,” Brett Major said.

This is the first time a messenger RNA is being used in a human vaccine which David Brett major said is very exciting and he’s hopeful after seeing promising data.

A couple doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered in The UK were there have been reports of allergic reactions. Doctors stress the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to getting the COVID vaccination and that the vaccine should be avoided if you have history of allergic reaction to vaccines.

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