The FDA advisory committee will gather this Thursday to discuss the final approval for Pfizer's COVID-19 prevention vaccine.
While most of the country waits with anticipation, many are questioning the legitimacy of a vaccine.
”Any standard immunization, the basic science behind it is that we introduce an antigen or a protein from that illness into the body, which allows your body's immune system attack that protein or antigen produce antibodies,” said Jason Mcknight, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care and Population Health with Texas A&M.
New groundbreaking sciences are being utilized for this vaccine and future vaccines to incorporate m-RNA, also known as messenger RNA, which allows your body to develop its own defense to the virus.
”Current Pfizer and Moderna that are under review actually work in a way that allow your own body to create that antigen to then expose to your body's immune system,” said Mcknight.
This new science will allow one's body to build its own fight against the virus using a small amount of genetic material from virus.
With any vaccine, the mission is to protect the most vulnerable.
”What we call clinical trials where you're testing to see if it works, you don’t want to do that with children, or at least not at first. You want to test it on healthy adults first,” said Alisson Pittman, a clinical assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Texas A&M.
The FDA has received approval to test the vaccine with children ages 12 and older.
”I don't anticipate that for the spring semester of school, between January and May of 2021, that there will be a vaccine ready for children,” said Pittman.
As the vaccines continue towards FDA approval, it will continue be an in-depth process to ensure it is effective and safe for all ages and all demographics.
”I think one of the things looking at the demographic groups that have been disproportionately affected by COVID, what we're seeing in the data from Pfizer and Moderna is that those demographics are protected just as well,” said Mcknight.
One thing to note about m-RNA is that injecting the messenger eliminates the possibility of someone contracting the virus because it is just a very small portion of the genetic material being used for the vaccine.