Lots of concern about this. And justifiably so given this is a new type of vaccine. Here is some vaccine history and why, at least, I’m not concerned about long term effects. I hope this helps you make a data informed decision.
The mRNA vaccine technology (I’ll call it biotechnology) is not new for COVID19. We were able to get to this point quickly because this vaccine has been in the making for years. mRNA research started in 1961. The first clinical trial was in 2001. And no long-term adverse events among these trial participants have been discovered.
For coronaviruses, mRNA research started during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Scientists were able to adjust the vaccine they had been creating back then (vaccine development stopped when funding ended) to prime it specifically for COVID19. In addition, various companies have tried to make mRNA vaccines over the last 5 years (mostly for Ebola, Zika, rabies and HIV, but also for cancer and allergies). Many, many non-COVID related randomized control trials are going on as we speak.
The biotechnology has never been approved by the FDA before. It’s NOT because the past mRNA vaccines have been deemed unsafe. It’s because past mRNA vaccines haven’t been very effective. One of the main issues has been figuring out a way to get the vaccine to the cells effectively. mRNA breaks down VERY quickly, so it needs to be transported by something. Finding that something has been a challenge. As I mentioned yesterday, though, scientists tried fat bubbles for COVID19. These have worked seemingly well.
A mRNA vaccine is actually safer for us compared to traditional vaccines. mRNA vaccines are not made up of the actual pathogen. This means that, unlike traditional vaccines, they don't contain weakened, dead, or noninfectious parts of a virus. They contain only the instruction manuals to tell cells how to fight COVID19. They are not produced using infectious elements. Also,
While we do not currently have long term data for COVID19 vaccine, but we know a whole lot about mRNA and the human body.
RNA quickly degrades in the body. RNA from the vaccine will degrade within 72 hours. The fat bubbles degrade pithing 4 days. The vaccine doesn’t linger in the body. It gives you the instructions and then leaves.
mRNA cannot insert itself into human DNA (since it cannot reverse transcribe itself). Unlike DNA vaccines (there are currently no DNA vaccines approved for human use, but there are many in clinical trials and there are some approved for veterinary medicine) mRNA does not enter a cells nucleus and so there is no potential for integration into the host DNA.
Knowing all that...
I will be getting the vaccine as soon as its my turn. I have confidence in the science and I have confidence in the thousands of people that have been working on this biotechnology for the past decade. I will get it for myself and the greater good. And, honestly, I’m more concerned about the possible long term organ damage done by COVID19 infection than any expected risk from the mRNA vaccines.
Data Sources: I consulted a few sources for the majority of this information. Most importantly... two brilliant fellow followers who work in medical education and biosafety at the National Institute of Health. I also found this site very informative: https://www.phgfoundation.org/briefing/rna-vaccines