Student News Site of Silverado High School

Chapter 2: Understanding the vaccine

March 13, 2021

Working together, and working with an understanding of science, we can take steps to further control and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But is the vaccine even safe? How rushed was the process?

The process behind the vaccine itself is very complicated and often hard to understand. Now that there is a vaccine here, many people are questioning if it is safe to take it, and what unforeseen repercussions a “rushed” vaccine will have. Others have decided to wait before taking the vaccine, as to stay out of a “testing period.” 

“I know that people think that this vaccine was developed ‘too quickly,’ so they question the safety,” Ryan said. “[But] this type of vaccine is one that has been used for years.  Every year, they modify it by adding an ingredient (or the virus particle) that will make the vaccine specific for that virus.  

“Think of it as a basic cookie recipe,” she explained.  “You’ve got flour, sugar, salt, shortening, baking soda, eggs.  That’s similar to the basic vaccine ‘recipe’.  You add your chocolate chips, you’ve got chocolate chip cookies.  Or, you add cinnamon, you’ve got snickerdoodles.  So, to this basic vaccine ‘recipe,’ add the dead viral particulate for whatever virus you want to fight, and you’ve got the vaccine.”  

Ryan also hopes to reassure the public with the knowledge that the vaccine is tested on thousands of people who will be followed for years to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine.  

“When people say they don’t want to be the ‘guinea pig’ for an experiment, they are failing to realize that thousands of people have been in the study, and they are the guinea pigs,” Ryan said.  “I started in the Moderna vaccine trial in August, with 30,000 others in the United States.  I was willing to be a ‘guinea pig’ because I feel strongly about the need for this.  I will be followed, have COVID-19 testing (nasal swab  and blood draws) for two years. I also want people to know that it is a  DEAD virus, and just a particle of the virus, that is used in the vaccine.” 

There are many misunderstandings behind the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, but with proper research, many misconceptions can be debunked and the science behind the vaccine seems much less threatening. 

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