How COVID-19 vaccines work


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Doctors say coronavirus vaccines will end the pandemic once and for all, and over 100 million people have gotten the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines around the world. But fewer than half of Black Americans say they want a shot. Experts say the pandemic’s days are numbered because of vaccines, which stop people from getting sick by teaching the body how to fight COVID-19.

“The Pfizer and Moderna are what they call MRNA vaccines, which are different from the traditional vaccines that used to be a virus that was dead or inactive,” said Dr. Ronald Reynoso, the Chief Medical Officer for Adventist Health Bakersfield. “It brings just a piece of that virus for the body to react to.”

Dr. Reynoso says vaccines give your body a game plan to build immunity.

“The body identifies a piece of the virus that it has to attack,” said Dr. Reynoso. “And that prevents infections and helps the body fight it and destroy it.”

Many patients report side effects like a runny nose, muscle aches or a fever. That means the shot is working, giving your body a test run that will prevent these symptoms if you come into contact with the virus.

“The vaccine will not give you the virus,” said Dr. Reynoso. “I took my two doses of the Pfizer. If it doesn’t cause you anything you might be concerned, like ‘is it doing what it’s supposed to?’ Because your body is trying to fight this new thing it doesn’t recognize, and trying to work around that.”

Unlike the vaccine, COVID-19 can throw your immune system into a frenzy. That’s why hundreds of Kern County residents have been hospitalized or killed by the disease.

“If you’re the unfortunate one with more risk of having it and the virus creates a severe inflammatory reaction, then you are in deep trouble,” said Dr. Reynoso. “That’s when people get into the ICU and a lot of them die. Because once that cycle starts, it’s difficult to unwind.”

Doctors say vaccines are especially important for Black Americans as this community is dying from COVID-19 at nearly triple the rate of white Americans. Watch TV-17’s Town Hall next Thursday at 6 p.m. to learn more about how communities of color can stay safe from COVID-19.

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