How does the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine work?

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccination programme is underway in the UK, in hospitals and at GP surgeries across the UK, but how does the vaccine protect us from coronavirus?

The science behind the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is new.

Unlike other vaccines, it doesn't use a harmless dose of the virus to trigger an immune response and so protect you from catching it in future.

An mRNA vaccine is injected into the body where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens.

These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight coronavirus.

No virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine. This means the rate at which the vaccine can be produced is accelerated.