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VACCINE Q&A: How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

The KENS 5 Vaccine Team takes a closer look at the coronavirus vaccine.

SAN ANTONIO — The KENS 5 Vaccine Team is taking a closer look at the coronavirus vaccines. Tonight, we're starting at the beginning -- how does the vaccine work?

Relatively new technology is helping in the fight against coronavirus. It's called MRNA, or messenger RNA. "It wasn't developed just in the last nine months," Dr. Thomas Campbell, the Chief Clinical Research Officer for UCHealth, said. "But this technology has been in development for almost 20 years."

This is the first time in history MRNA is being used in people outside of a clinical trial. Dr. James Cutrell, an infectious disease specialist," explains how it works:

"MRNA are basically the instructions that are packaged in this little lipid package injected into the vaccine, into your cell then teaches your cell basically how to make the virus protein to mount an immune response," Cutrell said.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were developed using this method. And both vaccines are between 94- and 95 percent effective at preventing covid-19.