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Two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are necessary to confer adequate immunity.
The new vaccines for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are highly effective, but controversy exists about whether a second dose should be delayed in order to immunize more people. The second dose is necessary and should be given.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a highly unstable molecule that is used to create proteins in cells. mRNA can be synthesized in a laboratory and, when injected into cells, can cause pieces of proteins to be made. When these small pieces of protein (peptides) leave the cell, the body can develop an immune reaction to them. The 2 main vaccines in the US from Pfizer and Moderna use this approach to vaccinate people against COVID-19 infection.
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Published Online: February 3, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.1375
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Sources: Understanding the new SARS-CoV-2 mutation found in England. JAMA Clinical Reviews podcast. Published January 8, 2021.
COVID-19 vaccine safety—anaphylaxis and allergic reactions. JAMA Clinical Reviews podcast. Published January 6, 2021.
Lauring AS, Hodcroft EB. Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2—what do they mean? JAMA. Published online January 6, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.27124
Coronavirus vaccine update with Paul Offit and Robert Wachter. Conversations with Dr Bauchner podcast. Published January 21, 2021.
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