How Do The Covid-19 Vaccines Work?

Vaccines to combat the Covid-19 virues are on their way, once authorized by the FDA. How do these vaccines work?

We have all seen images of the Covid-19 virus, a nearly circular cell with spikes on it. Those spikes are what cling to your respiratory system, particularly in your lungs, and then multiply once the patient is sickened.

Scientists from around the world have created vaccines from the following basic concept. They have taken part of the virus’s genetic code that tells your immune system to kick into action. Covid-19 vaccines will help our bodies develop immunity to the virus without having to get the illness.

Stage trials through stage three have shown a remarkably high efficiency to combat the virus – over 90 percent effective. Few have experienced any side-effects.

The vaccines work in two ways. The first shot primes your body to create antibodies against the virus by starting to build protection. During the first few weeks after the initial vaccination, our bodies will begin to produce the proteins that will battle any virus infection. About 4 weeks later, the second and final shot will finish building those battle-ready proteins leading to anti-bodies and immunity.

It is important to note you will not be immune to the virus until about a month after that second shot.

The process and timeline on how the vaccines will be deployed and who gets their shots when, is still in development by federal and state health authorities. What is known at this time is that the vaccines will be deployed in phases – one through four.

Up first, are those who are on the front lines in the health community helping patients fight the virus, as well as first responders such as fire fighters and law enforcement. Next, are older adults living in crowded settings such as adult homes, and those with underlying health conditions putting them at significantly higher risk.

At this point, there is a general timeline on deployment nationwide. Most of us will get the vaccine in the spring and summer of 2021.  To stop the spread of the virus through herd immunity, at least 75 percent of the population needs to get their pair of two shots, and at this time, herd immunity will likely be reached in the fall of 2021.

In the meantime, all Covid-19 safety precautions need to continue and be conducted to help stop the spread of the virus. These steps include wearing a face mask when out of the house in crowded environments, maintaining more than a 6 foot separation, and washing your hands and sanitizing common surfaces.

For more information about how the vaccine works and the deployment schedule as it evolves, visit the Center of Disease Control and the Washington State Dept of Health Covid-19 websites.

By the holidays of 2021, we should be back to close to normal life if all take their vaccinations. What a great time of celebration with family and friends that will be!

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.