Q:  All three vaccines available in the United States rely on our own cells to translate mRNA strands into the spike protein structures. How common is it for vaccines to employ our own cells to construct antigens?

This is incorrect. Only two of the three currently EUA approved vaccines use the mRNA technology. The third vaccine is a nanoparticle vaccine.The Covid vaccines are the first set of mRNA vaccines to be EUA approved. Prior mRNA vaccines were developed for other emerging infections (zika and ebola) but were not advanced to the late development stage because there was not the public health urgency of a pandemic.

Q: Are you concerned about increased autoimmune risk from this vaccine model?

No evidence of autoimmunity has been observed after hundreds of millions of doses have been administered.

Q: Are you concerned about decreased efficacy from this vaccine model?

All vaccines, no matter which type of technology is being used, have the risk of decreased efficacy over time. The “older” technologies for vaccines such as the Chinese killed whole virus vaccines (based on the decades old way of making vaccines) has lower efficacy than the mRNA and virus-vectored vaccines being used in the U.S.  We have now observed >6 months of very good efficacy with the mRNA and virus-vectored vaccines.

Response by E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine


Wilbur H. Chen, MD, MS, FACP, FISDA, Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicinem Chief, Adult Clinical Studies section, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD), Director, UMB Travel Medicine Practice