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RNA, DNA and Flu Vaccines

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Posted on April 28, 2022
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First, let’s cover the basics of DNA and RNA. Here is a quick explanation of what they are:

“Deoxyribonucleic acid, more commonly known as
DNA, is a complex molecule that contains all of the information necessary to build and maintain an organism. All living things have DNA within their cells. In fact, nearly every cell in a multicellular organism possesses the full set of DNA required for that organism.” – Definition from Nature.com 

“Ribonucleic acid (
RNA) is a molecule similar to DNA. Unlike DNA, RNA is single-stranded. An RNA strand has a backbone made of alternating sugar (ribose) and phosphate groups…different types of RNA exist in the cell: messenger RNA (mRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and transfer RNA (tRNA).” – Definition from Genome.gov 

What is a DNA or RNA flu vaccine?
Stepping back from the science a little bit, you might be wondering about an RNA or DNA flu vaccine. How will it interact with your body and are there any risks? Even though vaccines are high-tech, we should keep in mind that
all organisms contain DNA, Your body is bombarded with ‘outside DNA’ all the time. Nearly all the food you eat has DNA in it (fruits, vegetables, meat, seeds, etc.) and bacteria, viruses, your children, and your pets are all exposing you to DNA all the time. Your body is absorbing DNA all the time without any ill effects.

DNA/RNA are in flu vaccines because DNA/RNA exist in flu viruses. However, flu vaccines do not contain the types of viruses that make you sick. An RNA or DNA-based flu vaccine is much the same as other ‘outside DNA exposures’. Your body can react to DNA and learn how to combat a virus based on its RNA or DNA without the risk of altering your DNA. So don’t worry–your body can handle a vaccine without altering your genetic makeup, just as bacteria and viruses are handled by your body without lasting effects on your genetic makeup.

Currently, flu vaccines are NOT made with messenger RNA (mRNA), which can be found in many COVID-19 vaccines. 

The point of all flu vaccines is to create an immune response to the virus. Your body doesn’t incorporate the DNA into your genes, it just reacts to the threat your body identifies after it’s intentionally introduced.

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