LANSING, Mich. — Sparrow Health System and McLaren Hospital received an initial distribution of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer on Thursday. The first round is being administered to frontline caregivers, who have been and will continue to be in close contact with contagious patients.
The vaccine is arriving in record time thanks to global cooperation and a new technique in vaccine development.
To put it in perspective, the vaccine for mumps is considered to be one of the fastest ever created, taking only four years to develop. Dr. Fauci said in January that the earliest possible time for a COVID-19 vaccine to be created was 12 months, and many considered that to be an overly optimistic timeline. Yet the COVID-19 vaccine was created in only 11 months because of a breakthrough by Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, a Turkish couple living in Germany. They used the never-before-approved technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to trigger an immune response in people who are vaccinated.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine works by causing a body’s own cells to produce bits of protein that resemble pieces of COVID-19, which gives the immune system a chance to safely identify what it’s looking for. With that information the body can then react to actual instances of COVID-19 quickly.
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