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Moderna (Spikevax)

This is one of the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Active Ingredients:

The active ingredient in this vaccine is mRNA encoding the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is a form of genetic material that acts as a template to make proteins (in this case the spike protein) through a process called translation. The protein made from the mRNA teaches your body how to respond if it is exposed to the virus in the future because the immune system responds to this protein by creating antibodies. mRNA is harmless on its own and cannot change your DNA.

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Inactive Ingredients:

Amounts based on a 0.5 mL dose (0.25mL doses contain half the amount of each ingredient)

0.5 mL doses are for ages 12+, 0.25 mL doses are for ages 6 months - 11 years

Lipids: These create a protective coating around the mRNA so it does not break down too early and become ineffective

Note: The total lipid content in this vaccine is 1.01 mg. Here, we do not have the amount of each individual lipid, so the comparisons listed in this section are relative to 1.01mg, which is the maximum amount each could be.

Salts: help maintain the stability and pH of the vaccine

Acids: improve the stability of the vaccine

Carbohydrates: normally used as stabilizers in vaccines

Relevant Terms

  • Antibody: a protein made by the immune system in response to a foreign particle (antigen). These proteins circulate in the blood and help defend the body against the substance.

  • Antigen: This is any substance that triggers the immune system to create antibodies. For example, allergens such as pollen are antigens.

  • Bivalent: protects against two versions of a pathogen

  • Carbohydrates: another word for sugar

  • Electrolytes: chemical substances with a positive or negative charge that help to maintain the pH and fluid balance in the body so that the organs can function properly. Some common examples of electrolytes are sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and chloride (Cl-). 

  • Lipid: substances that do not mix with water such as fats, hormones, waxes, and oils

  • Monovalent: protects against one version of a pathogen

  • mRNA: Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is a form of genetic material that acts as a template to make proteins.

  • Nanoparticle: these particles are called nanoparticles due to their size. The dimensions of nanoparticles are in the nanometer range. 1 meter is one billion nanometers.

  • pH: a measure of how acidic or basic a solution is. The scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very basic). A pH of 7 is neutral.

  • Recombinant Protein: a protein that is made by putting genetic information into the genome of another species. That species makes the protein, which is isolated and purified. 

  • Spike protein: the protein in SARS-CoV-2 that allows the virus to recognize and attach to host cells.

Relevant terms


Last updated: Mar. 29, 2024

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