How the Covid-19 Vaccine Works

At weeSTEMs we try to cover current scientific news as regularly as possible – and there’s nothing more talked about in the world of science right now than the world’s newest vaccine – the Covid-19 vaccine.

I have grossly oversimplified how viruses and vaccines work – however I hope this is an enjoyable activity that helps to shine a light on the very basic principles of vaccines and how they work.

To begin with, have a watch of this video about how our immune system works.

Now that you know the basics, how does the body’s immune system relate to how vaccines work?

In the instance of the Covid-19 vaccine, scientists have managed to identify the specific protein that the virus uses to enter our cells in order to replicate.

So scientists have replicated the protein alone and it is this that is injected into our bodies – therefore there is no live virus. However, because our body’s immune system doesn’t recognise the new protein it creates a unique antibody to engulf the new unknown protein.

Our M-cells (memory cells) make a record of the special antibody so that if they ever see it again (i.e. if we contract Covid-19) our body already has the specific antibodies required in order to fight it.

For a fun hands-on activity you could use playdough to produce antibodies to replicate how the body’s B-cells bind with the virus protein.

Simply click the image below or click Download for a free template. Of course you could always make your own too!

We enjoyed watching the video and creating our own antibodies so much that we also had a go at designing our own viruses and making up some games.

Remember to share your creations over on the weeSTEMs Facebook page!

Happy Learning! xx

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