Advantages of an mRNA vaccine
mRNA vaccines tell the body how to make a protein that produces immunity against specific microbes, viruses and in the future cancer. In contrast, traditional vaccines use weakened or dead microbes, or pieces of them, to stimulate immunity. mRNA vaccines have a shorter manufacturing time, but some traditional vaccines can provide lifelong immunity against infection.
Disadvantages of an mRNA vaccine
mRNA vaccines have very few risks. They do not contain any live microbes, unlike some traditional vaccines, and all vaccines must pass rigorous safety testing before the general public can receive them.
All Vaccine Risks
Risks for all vaccines is measured in cases per 100,000. For a full discussion of all vaccine risks this CDC website is best.
Like other vaccine types, mRNA vaccines can cause side effects in the days after a person receives them. These side effects tend to be mild and temporary.
After a person receives the shot, their arm may feel achy, painful, or swollen. People may also experience flu-like symptoms. These are more common after the second dose and can include:
- muscle pain
The COVID-19 vaccine has a small risk of pericarditis and myocarditis, which is most likely to occur in male adolescents and young adults. Pericarditis is inflammation of the outer lining of the heart, and myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle.
However, these complications are rare, and people who develop them typically feel better quickly with rest and medication.
Note: Traditional vaccines also have all these risks.