What vaccines are currently available? (UPDATED*)

Currently, there are three vaccines now authorized and recommended in the United States to prevent COVID-19:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (mRNA vaccine)
  • Moderna vaccine (mRNA vaccine)
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (vector-based vaccine)

Pfizer-BioNTech now has full FDA approval, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still approved via the Emergency Use Authorization.

mRNA Vaccines (Pfizer-BionTech and Moderna)

These vaccines have genetic material called mRNA or “messenger RNA” that is taken from the virus. Once injected, this material tricks our bodies into producing a spike protein unique to the virus. When our immune systems detect this protein, they then create cells that recognize and destroy it. These immune system cells remain in our bodies for long periods, giving us protection against the virus. The mRNA vaccines do not alter your genes, nor can they give you COVID-19.

mRNA Vaccines (Pfizer-BionTech and Moderna)

These vaccines have genetic material called mRNA or “messenger RNA” that is taken from the virus. Once injected, this material tricks our bodies into producing a spike protein unique to the virus. When our immune systems detect this protein, they then create cells that recognize and destroy it. These immune system cells remain in our bodies for long periods, giving us protection against the virus. The mRNA vaccines do not alter your genes, nor can they give you COVID-19.

On August 23, 2021, the FDA formally approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older.  This vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty.  The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of the third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

Vector-based Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen)

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose, adenovirus-based vaccine.  Researchers genetically altered a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in so it carried a gene for the COVID-19 spike protein; this will train a person’s immune system to recognize the real coronavirus. It was approved for Emergency Use Authorization on February 27, 2021.  The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the vaccine on February 28, 2021.

Sources

Updated: August 24, 2021

ICSI

ICSI