By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Despite some glitches, two COVID vaccines are now rolling out to high-risk groups across the country.

That has led to many questions as people start thinking about getting vaccinated.

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Our first question comes from CBS2 viewer Mary, who asks, “What’s in the vaccine?”

Mary wants to know because she’s very allergic to penicillin. While there have been a tiny number of allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine, there is nothing resembling penicillin in either vaccine, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez says. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a similar, brand-new technology to induce immunity, so people rightly want to know what’s in them.

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Surprisingly little. There are tiny snippets of what’s called messenger or mRNA. That’s the genetic blueprint the virus uses to make the spike protein that helps corona infect cells and will stimulate your immunity. But there is no coronavirus in the vaccine.

The other component is tiny oily nanoparticles that surround and protect the mRNA, which otherwise would break down very quickly in the body. That’s it. No preservatives or anything else until they’re mixed with sterile saline right before being injected.

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Our second question comes from Jay, who asks, “Which vaccine should I choose? Is one better or more effective?”

The answer, at least for a few months, is it’s very unlikely that you’ll have a choice.

Both vaccines use similar technology, both have almost identical effectiveness in clinical trials and both are going to be in short supply for a while, at least until production ramps up or other vaccine candidates get authorized next year.

Bottom line, whichever vaccine becomes available to you, take it. And wear a mask until then, and even after your vaccine, to keep others safe.

To submit your question to Dr. Max, click here

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Dr. Max Gomez