What is Moderna?
Moderna, sold under the brand name Spikevax, is one of the three COVID-19 vaccines that are approved for use in the UK.
Like all these vaccines, it has been extensively tested and has been approved as safe and effective by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It has also been approved for use in many other countries around the world, including the United States and countries in the European Union.
None of the COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK contain any animal or foetal products.
How does the vaccine work?
All three COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching the body to produce antibodies to fight the virus.
This is done by introducing a fragment of protein from the virus into your body. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use ‘messenger ribonucleuc acid’ (mRNA) which is found in all cells in your body and tells your body how to make proteins.
This teaches cells how to make copies of the protein, which then stimulates the immune system to make antibodies. After the mRNA delivers its instructions, your body breaks it down and gets rid of it.
How effective is Moderna?
The Moderna vaccine has been shown to offer very high levels of protection against the effects of Covid-19. Data from the clinical trials found it was 94.1% effective against COVID-19.
Why am I being offered Moderna for my booster?
The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) has recommended that people should be given an mRNA vaccine for their booster (either Moderna or Pfizer) no matter which type of vaccine they had for their previous doses. This is because the clinical trials showed that this type of vaccine gave the best increase in immunity when given as a booster.
Why do I have to wait for 15 minutes after having Moderna?
This is required for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and is in the unlikely event that someone has a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. This is very rare and if it does happen, it usually happens within minutes. Staff are trained to deal with reactions and treat them immediately.
Are there any possible side effects?
All vaccines can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them and they mostly go away within a few days. The common side effects from Moderna are the same as for the other COVID-19 vaccines and include:
- A painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm you received your injection in
- Feeling tired
- General aches, or mild flu-like symptoms
Resting and taking paracetamol will help you to feel better