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Parenting: Understanding the Covid-19 vaccine

Posted at 5:23 AM, Jan 05, 2021

It is a new virus that has crippled the world.

Now that the Covid-19 vaccine is available to those 70 and older, concerns continue to rise on the fast-tracked approval.

"It doesn't mean the FDA is taking any shortcuts in reviewing the data," Michelle Scarritt explained. "It also means that Pfizer and Moderna are required to continue testing their vaccines before they will get official licensure."

Scarritt has a PhD in Biomedical Science. She said, while the vaccine can be scary for many people, there are ways to look at it that are easier to understand.

She said that people should think of their immune system like the military with a few different regimes.

You have the frontline attack cells, scouts or the antigen cells, and then you have the supporting cells. All work together to identify and fight off an intruder.

"The vaccine is training those regimes," Scarritt said. "Our body is seeing foreign material every day and the immune system is exposed to a lot of different things. It doesn't always know what is going to be a serious threat and what is not."

Scarritt said the vaccine should offer about six months of protection.

"I think coronavirus is less likely to mutate than the flu. You'll have longer immunity there."

For those who are worried that the virus could change, the vaccine now obsolete, Scarritt said that is unlikely to happen.

She said the signature of the virus is called the Spike Protein. That protein is located on the surface of the virus, like a facial feature, and will always be there.

"It's not like showing a bearded man and then he can go and shave his face and you can't find him anymore," Scarritt explained. "Now your poster will be the physical facial features. You know that your immune system is trained for the right intruder."