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How does the Covid-19 Vaccine work?

“What is in the vaccine?” and “How does the vaccine work to fight the covid 19 virus (also known as SARS-CoV-2 )?” are two of the most common questions. According to a CDC article, Covid-19 (2021), To understand how the Covid 19 vaccine works we have to first understand how our body fights illnesses. “Our immune system uses several tools to fight infection...Different types of white blood cells fight infection in different ways: Macrophages are white blood cells that swallow and digest germs and dead or dying cells. The macrophages leave behind parts of the invading germs, called “antigens”. The body identifies antigens as dangerous and stimulates antibodies to attack them (Covid-19 vaccine, CDC, 2021)”. B-Lymphocytes are also white blood cells that produce antibodies to attack the remaining pieces of virus left by macrophages. T-Lymphocytes are white blood cells that attack affected cells in the body. When a person is exposed to the Covid 19 virus it takes several days or even weeks for the body to fight the infection. After the first interaction with the virus, the body’s immune system would remember and learn how to fight the virus. “The T-lymphocytes called “memory cells,” that go into action quickly if the body encounters the same virus again. When the familiar antigens are detected, B-lymphocytes produce antibodies to attack”. Once getting a vaccine, after a “few weeks the body produces T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. Therefore, it is possible for someone to become infected [by the covid 19 virus] before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection”(Covid-19 vaccine, CDC, 2021).”

Another common question is, “why do people get sick when they get the covid vaccine?” after getting a vaccine it is normal to have symptoms or reactions such as fever or chills because these signs indicate your body is building immunity and according to Vox, The vaccine (more specifically the new messenger RNA vaccine) has a 95% efficacy rate. The efficacy rate means this vaccine is one of the most effective vaccines but, because the efficacy rate is so high this would also mean the vaccine is more likely to activate your immune system, “which means your body increase blood flow to where that vaccine is, which is why pain at the injection site is so common...your body might even think, better turn up the heat, and then you get a fever, or the chills. So experts emphasize that we should look at most side effects as a good thing: it means the vaccine is working (Vox, Vaccine side effects are actually good thing, 2021)”

There are many myths and rumors surrounding the Covid-19 vaccines (Myths and Facts, CDC, 2021). The CDC made an article about myths on the covid-19 vaccination, they included information on how to find credible sources, as well as, answering commonly asked questions about the vaccine. Due to the spread of misinformation and rumors, it is extremely important to find credible sources and information that experts have studied on. This CDC article will help if you or anyone has questions or concerns about the vaccine.

The CDC created the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). The Social Vulnerability Index has “[incorperated] fifteen social factors which are grouped into four themes (Bailey, Countertools, 2020)” to identify communities that could experience natural disasters such as an outbreak. The four themes are Socioeconomic status, Household Composition, Race/Ethnicity/Language, and Housing/Transportation. These four themes come together and are ranked for each US census tract. “Communities with higher social vulnerabilities, including poverty and crowded housing units, have more adverse outcomes during and following public health event (CDC, 2020)” In the case of Covid communities with higher social vulnerability were more affected


Bailey, J., & Justin Bailey is Director of Product & Technology at Counter Tools. Justin studied sociology at Brown University. (2020, December 2). Considering social vulnerability and health equity in COVID-19 vaccine allocation. Counter Tools. Retrieved September 24, 2021, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 22). Association between social vulnerability and a COUNTY'S risk for becoming A COVID-19 hotspot - United STATES, june 1–JULY 25, 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Myths and facts about COVID-19 Vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Understanding how covid-19 vaccines work. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from

Priya B. Shete. Jason Vargo. Alice Hm Chen. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo. (2021, February 3). Equity metrics: Toward a more effective and inclusive pandemic response: Health affairs blog. Health Affairs. Retrieved September 24, 2021, from

World Health Organization. (n.d.). Covid-19 vaccines. World Health Organization. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from

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