COVID and the Vaccine: An Interview with Doctor Mohamed

Written & Researched by Riya Nalla

COVID has changed life as we know it, and we all have had our lives impacted in some way because of it. School was out, work went online, and social hangouts went virtual. It has spread all across the world, with cases constantly on the rise, but vaccines have been developed this year, the main ones being Moderna and Pfizer. In my interview with Doctor Mohamed, a PGY1 Pediatric Resident, we discussed these topics, and I asked questions about the changes in the virus this year, the multiple variants, and the vaccine. (graphic of virtual meeting)

Question 1: How has the rate of COVID spreading changed this year compared to last year, and what are some measures we can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially with the Delta Variant and other variants escalating right now?

“The rate of spreading has significantly been different due to a few factors. We have a new strain called the delta variant which according to my virology professor has compared it to the contagiousness of the Measles... What we can do to minimize the spread to others is wearing masks when in close proximity to others especially within 6 feet! Washing hands with soap and water is super important... The best form of protection is to get vaccinated as it will minimize the chance you will have major symptoms... Although the delta variant can still be transmitted to you with the vaccine, the likelihood of you getting severe symptoms is severely reduced... I would recommend following up with a primary care provider… and other medical providers... to be evaluated for other underlying medical conditions. comorbid diseases... can put the individual at greater risk of contracting COVID 19...” (insert graphics of washing hands with soap and a person wearing a mask)

In his detailed response, Doctor Mohamed references the Measles to demonstrate just how transmissible the Delta Variant of COVID is. Because of this, just like the previous year, it is important to maintain hygiene and stay healthy by rinsing your hands, keeping them away from your face. Most people that have COVID-19 are unvaccinated, about 97% of the hospitalized, and many believed they should have gotten vaccinated to prevent the fatal effects of COVID (UC Davis Health). Doctor Mohamed discusses this when comparing the extremities of COVID when getting vaccinated compared to getting unvaccinated.

Question 2: How many people in the U.S. are vaccinated in an estimated percentage and how does the supply and accessibility of the vaccine vary in different communities and countries?

“Overall, about 190 million people or 57% of the total US population have received at least one dose of the vaccine according to these figures from the CDC. About 163.9 million or 49% of the total US population have now been fully vaccinated. High income countries, representing just a fifth of the goal of the population, have purchased more than half of all the vaccine doses, resulting in disparity between the population share and doses purchased for all other country Income groups.” - Doctor Mohamed

As Doctor Mohamed said, over 50% of the U.S. population is at least partially vaccinated, meaning less than half, but very close to half, are not vaccinated. Compared to vaccinations by country, the U.S. is higher up because they had enough money to get a larger supply of the vaccine, he explains as he continues. Countries like Nigeria and Bangladesh have a much lower vaccination rate because of the lack of access to vaccine doses (Our World in Data). (insert clipart of a general vaccine)

Question 3: Both Pfizer and Moderna, the most common vaccines, are mRNA vaccines. What is an mRNA vaccine, and what does it do to help us build immunity to COVID?

“mRNA, delivered to your body cells by lipid nanoparticles, instructs the cells to generate the spike protein found in the surface of the novel coronavirus that initiates infection. Instructing cells to generate the spike protein spurs an immune response, including generation of antibodies specific to the SARS Covid-2- spike protein.” - Doctor Mohamed

As Doctor Mohamed states, the spike protein is made by the cells, which are unrecognized by them, causing them to build immunity and antibodies against the coronavirus (CDC Gov). Because of this, the cells in the body develop defense against the coronavirus, thus building the effectiveness of the vaccine. It is called an mRNA vaccine because the mRNA inserted into our bodies are the actual directions to mimic the protein and allow the cell to become immune.

(insert a graphic of the COVID bacteria with the spikes as well as mRNA)

Works Cited (Sources and Important Information)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 4). Understanding

mrna covid-19 vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). CDC COVID Data Tracker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Delta variant: 8 things you should know about THIS COVID-19

STRAIN. Delta variant: 8 things you should know | Coronavirus | UC Davis Health. (2021, August 12).

Ritchie, H., Ortiz-Ospina, E., Beltekian, D., Mathieu, E., Hasell, J., Macdonald, B., Giattino, C.,

Appel, C., Rodés-Guirao, L., & Roser, M. (2020, March 5). Coronavirus

(covid-19) VACCINATIONS - statistics and research. Our World in Data.

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