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Politics aside, there’s a lot of misinformation about how the COVID-19 vaccine works and that has prevented some from getting the vaccine.

In a TED Talk, Kaitlyn Sadtler and Elizabeth Wayne explain the science behind the mRNA technology used in the COVID-19 vaccines. According to their TED bio, Sadtler researches how our body can regenerate tissue through instructions from our immune system and Wayne is a biomedical engineer.

In the video, they explain the technology used in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, how using that technology teaches your body to fight the virus, and why the approval process took months and not years to complete.

Dr. Michael O. Frank, Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said the vaccination rate is key to achieving herd immunity, especially with the Delta Varient being so infectious.

“You really need like 90% immunity to get herd immunity against the Delta,” Frank said. “The best way to get there is with vaccination because you can’t just wait for everybody to get this. And in fact, by the time you got there through natural infection, there’ll be a new variant that they have and we’ll be starting all over again. The best way to get herd immunity is to get 90% of the population vaccinated.”

To help assure people, Sadtler and Wayne’s video addressed some of the main concerns people have had with the COVID-19 vaccine. Here is a summary of their responses.

How the COVID-19 vaccine works

  • “We don’t know what’s in it” Yes, we do. The technology for this has been in the works for decades. Here’s a list of ingredients.
  • “It changes my DNA.” The vaccine can’t change your DNA because it doesn’t contain the enzymes or chemical signals to access your DNA.
  • “It’ll give me COVID.” The vaccine doesn’t contain the virus.
  • “The vaccine will make me sick.” You will experience symptoms right after the vaccine because it triggers your immune response. But those symptoms are often short-lived.
  • “It’ll make me infertile.” The vaccine doesn’t contain enzymes that would trigger that response.
  • “People die from getting the vaccine.” Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 310 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through June 14, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 5,343 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Center for Disease Control.
  • “The vaccine doesn’t work. You can still get COVID.” This is true, but your chance of getting COVID, being hospitalized and dying are signficantly reduced.

To put things into perspective, the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 residents is 125 cases compared to 370 cases among those who were not vaccinated. Of those cases in vaccinated people, about 5 people were hospitalized compared to 18 unvaccinated people. The death rate among those who were vaccinated and diagnosed with COVID-19 is .1 compared to 1.1 deaths among people who were not vaccinated.

Learn more about the vaccine here.

Interested in getting the vaccine? Here’s where to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.