Oct. 25, 2021 -- People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are not only less likely to die from the virus, but they’re also less likely to die from any cause in the months following vaccination, according to a new study.

The study team, which included researchers from the CDC and health care groups across seven states, found the results while studying the safety of the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines.

The results were published Friday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States have shown again and again to be safe. This study also confirms their safety,” Stanley Xu, who led the study team and is a researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, told CNN.

How Do COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Work?Some of the COVID-19 vaccines are known as mRNA shots. How are they different from traditional vaccines? And do they contain the real virus?189

[MUSIC PLAYING]

SPEAKER: How does a COVID-19

mRNA vaccine work?

COVID vaccines are now

available.

Some of the COVID-19 vaccines

are mRNA vaccines, but what does

this mean?

mRNA vaccines are

different from traditional

vaccines.

mRNA vaccines don't expose you

to any real virus instead,

they're made with messenger

Ribonucleic Acid or mRNA.

This is a type of molecule that

gives instructions to the cell

for how to make different kinds

of proteins.



mRNA molecules are

a natural part of our cells

and how our bodies work.

Researchers have been working

with mRNA vaccines

for many years.

They are made more easily

and safely in a lab

than a vaccine that uses

a virus.

Because of this they can also

be made faster.

The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines

have passed many tests in labs

and in thousands of people,

and meet strict standards

from the FDA.



So how do these vaccines work?

First, a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine

is injected into a muscle

in your upper arm.

Some muscle cells take the mRNA

instructions in the vaccine

and make a harmless piece

of a protein called

a spike protein.

This protein is found

on the outside of the SARS-CoV-2

virus that causes COVID-19.



The muscle cells then destroy

the instructions for how to make

the spike protein.

The mRNA never goes

into the nucleus of your cells

where your DNA is stored.

The newly made spike protein now

sits on the surface

of the muscle cells.



Your immune system senses

the spike protein

as a foreign threat to destroy,

it starts making antibodies

to fight anything

with that spike protein on it.

This will help your body's

immune system recognize

and fight the real virus if it

ever shows up.

It's like recognizing someone

by the hat they wear.

Your body is then

prepared to spot COVID-19

and fight it off before it grows

in your body's cells.



Fast facts to remember

about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

They help get your body

ready to fight off the COVID-19

virus before it makes you sick,

they don't use

any live, dead, or weak virus,

they can't give you COVID-19,

they don't affect your DNA.

Want to learn more,

go to cdc.gov to find more

information about mRNA vaccines.

You can also learn more about

how the vaccines were approved

at fda.gov.



[SWOOSH]



[MUSIC PLAYING]



From Krames/delivery/aws/e1/19/e1194689-aff0-4d9e-9fd2-2c0084642589/b37084c0-2e1f-4b66-958c-96e7a6c3f4db_krames_activating_health_how_mrna_vaccine_works_021021_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp402/10/2021 12:00:0018001200photo of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/1800x1200_krames_activating_health_how_mrna_vaccine_works_video.jpg091e9c5e8210a400

“In fact, it shows that people vaccinated for COVID-19 had lower death rates than those who were not vaccinated, even when COVID deaths were excluded,” he said. “That’s in addition to the mounting evidence from other studies showing that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against COVID-19 infection, serious illness, and death.”

The research team studied 11 million people, including 6.4 million people who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and 4.6 million people who had received flu shots in recent years but hadn’t received a COVID-19 vaccine. They filtered out anyone who had died from COVID-19 to analyze the non-coronavirus deaths.

Between December 2020 to July 2021, COVID-19 vaccine recipients had lower rates of non-COVID-19 mortality than unvaccinated people, including adjustments for age, race and ethnicity, sex, and geographic location.

Those who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 34% as likely to die from non-coronavirus causes in the months after vaccination as unvaccinated people. Those who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine were 31% as likely to die as unvaccinated people, and those who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine were 54% as likely to die.

One explanation could be that people who get vaccinated, in general, tend to be healthier than people who don’t, the researchers said, noting that they plan to study this more in the future.

“There is no increased risk for mortality among COVID-19 vaccine recipients,” they wrote. “This finding reinforces the safety profile of currently approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.”

More than 220 million people in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the latest CDC data updated Sunday. More than 77% of ages 12 and older have received a shot, and 67% are considered fully vaccinated.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccination and Non-COVID-19 Mortality Risk -- Seven Integrated Health Care Organizations, United States, December 14, 2020 - July 31, 2021.”

CNN: “People vaccinated against Covid-19 less likely to die from any cause, study finds.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.