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What Makes an RNA Vaccine Different From a Conventional Vaccine?

Researchers and scientists around the world are working to develop a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Given the urgency of the pandemic, different groups are using different methods.

Pfizer is collaborating with German biotech company BioNTech to focus on a technology called an mRNA vaccine. Unlike conventional vaccines, which can take months to produce by growing weakened forms of the virus, RNA vaccines can be constructed quickly using only the pathogen’s genetic code.

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Emergency uses of the vaccines have not been approved or licensed by FDA, but have been authorized by FDA, under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19) in:

  • individuals 6 months of age and older (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine)
  • individuals 12 years of age and older (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent)

The emergency uses are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)(1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner.

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