(Five-minute read) 

Now before I start trying to answer this question I wish to make it crystal clear that I am no doctor, scientist, or professor of Epidemiology.

Over my life, I have visited countries that have to require one to be vaccinated for everything from Yellow fever to you name it.

The one thing that is stopping some people from getting vaccinated is not understanding how mRNA technology works and its long term effects ( Yet to be seen)

So I am going to try to explain in layman terms the difference between an mRNA vaccine and a traditional vaccine.

There are three sorts of vaccines.   

Live, attenuated vaccines are the closest to a natural infection. They contain a weakened version of a living virus or bacteria

Subunit vaccines contain only parts of a virus or bacteria instead of a whole pathogen.

Inactivated vaccines contain an inactivated or dead version of a virus or pathogen.

Most vaccines up to now work by presenting your body with a weakened or dead version of a virus or some of the proteins found on the surface of the virus.

By showing the virus or parts of the virus to your immune system, the vaccine teaches your body to recognize the pathogen and turns on the production of antibodies, which are proteins that attach to the virus and allow killer immune cells to gobble it up.

In other words, traditional vaccines teach the immune system to make memory cells.

So if you are exposed to a virus at a future date, the immune system has the ability to rev up the production of antibodies rapidly and fight off the pathogen again.


The coronavirus pandemic infected millions of people in a matter of months and vaccines usually take years, and sometimes even decades, to develop, test, and approved for public use. 

For example: 

Smallpox – several centuries.

Plague – to date no vaccine.

Typhoid – around thirty years.

Yellow Fever – around thirty years.

Influenza –   around thirty years – ineffective today because of seasonal changes.

Measles/ Mumps –  around eleven years.

Anthrax  – around 58 years

Polo-  around sixty years. 

Chicken Pox – around thirty year

Shingles – around forty years. 

Hepatitis B –  around twenty-four years.

mRNA vaccines have existed for more than 10 years and have been used with the Ebola and Zika viruses. What is new is in terms of how widely it’s being used on the market.

When the COVID-19 epidemic arrived, never before in modern history, has the entire world and all of the governments in the world banded together to get a vaccine to market so quickly.

Researchers worldwide sprang into action to identify and insert the correct genetic code into the mRNA platform.


This of course raised questions. 

How a vaccine can get put together in such a short time? 

Were corners cut?  

Is the trial period too short? 

Will there be side effects in years to come? 

These are questions that can not fully answer.  Time will tell. 

In layman’s terms, the technologies already existed, and with vast amounts of money made available to produce a vaccine, it happened in months not years. 

The result was mRNA vaccines which use what is called RNAi research that is widely used by researchers to silence genes in order to learn something about their function.

The result is siRNAs that can be designed to match any gene, can be manufactured cheaply, and can be readily administered to cells.

In other words, a cellular mechanism that uses the gene’s own DNA sequence of the gene to turn it off.

However, RNAi is much more than a research tool that encompasses an array of ancient and sophisticated cellular mechanisms that regulate a variety of biological functions. 

The advantage of RNAi is the ability to design precisely targeted medicines for almost any gene, regardless of the function of the gene.

So each different vaccine aims to use a slightly different approach to prepare your immune system to recognize and fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


Think of your DNA  as the “instruction manuals” in genes that tell a living thing—what to do.  

The mRNA helps cells to read those instructions. It is synthetic there is no COVID virus in this vaccine.

You can not get COVID-19 from the vaccine as mRNA vaccines never enter the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is stored. Rather than presenting your body with the dead virus or parts of the virus, mRNA vaccines show your body the blueprint needed to make a viral protein.

The difference with mRNA vaccines is that it gives a recipe to our immune system. 

Your body uses this blueprint to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins without including any part of the virus itself.

However, unlike less virulent or killed vaccines, the person is not infected with a virus, not even one that’s been weakened or killed.

mRNA is a small fragile fragment of genetic information that’s rapidly broken down within the bloodstream and within cells.


Finally, the world will need several different vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic as the virus mutates.

Of course in the short term, there are billions to be made by not sharing. But in the long term, it is taxpayers’ money that has helped the development of the vaccine.  

At the moment we have a handful of drugmakers dominating the global coronavirus vaccine race. 

To fight a global pandemic these companies must be made to share or waiver any patents, along with sharing the manufacturing process worldwide.

The Data from all Vaccines must be shared.  

While world governments must remove any trade barriers blocking the production of the vaccine. 

So far 75% of the world’s Covid -19 vaccines have been distributed in just 10 countries. 

It is a glaring fact that we are not going to end this pandemic anywhere until we do it everywhere. 

It is also a glaring fact while the virus spreads Covid mutants will evolve to trick our immune systems.

It is also a glaring fact that unless Inequality is tackled on a world basis we humans will struggle with any future pandemics that are coming with climate change.  

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.