Healthy Geek Academy

Robyn Warren leads the modern geek on a personalized wellness journey

Healthy Geek Academy

23. We're Talking About The COVID Vaccine, Too! - Transcript

May 13, 2021

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Hello, welcome to the healthy geek Academy classroom. I will be your independent teacher educator today Robyn Warren, you’re always host and sometimes teacher. Today we are going to talk about a huge topic that I have spent about two weeks researching to make sure that I don’t mess this up. But guaranteed by the time you hear this, something is going to change. mind you’re recording this three days before you hear it and I’m still like, Yo, I’m gonna do all this research. And it’s gonna change by the time people hear it anyway. But it felt like the perfect time to do it because one we didn’t have a guest lined up and two, I am getting my second dose tomorrow. So I’m drinking lots of water. I’m preparing my mind, body and soul for hopefully not having any side effects, which we will talk about more during this episode. And if you haven’t guessed already, we are going to be talking about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Because I am a past school teacher or a former school teacher, I walk into every teaching and learning situation as if the people I am teaching know absolutely nothing about the subject. Because I think it’s better to assume that people know nothing than to assume that they know a lot and skip over things. So let’s start with what the heck of a vaccine is and where they came from. According to Britannica, if you’re of a certain age, that name sounds familiar, because you had stacks on stacks of books, these physical items, if you will, that included a limited amount of knowledge in them. And they were gosh darn expensive. I never had a set of them in my home. My school libraries always did. And that was a few of my friends who family had a little more to spend had sets of encyclopedias. And they do have a website. They also have a paywall. So just as a heads up, if you end up going there, it’s annoying. According to this encyclopedia on the internet, we start seeing the first signs of what vaccines are going to become when Asian physicians or doctors or medical providers if you will start to give children the dried crusts from legions of people who are suffering from smallpox in order to protect those children from that same disease. And while some of those kids did end up getting immune to smallpox or meaning that they can’t get it. Other kids did end up developing the disease themselves. Then, because you know how history is we end up with this white guy in 1796, a British doctor by the name of Edward Jenner, he ended up using the cow pox virus, which is a related virus to smallpox. In order to aid in the protection against smallpox. He was using this pretty rare situation in which immunity to one virus confers to protection against another virus. And actually, if you’ve ever watched the great on Hulu, which is a satirical retelling of Catherine the Great’s rise to power in Russia, You’ll remember in one of the episodes that she encouraged inoculation against the pox by putting some of the pus in a cut on her hand. And although the show has a lot of embellishments, and honestly things that are just untrue, she did actually advocate for this.

With all of that being said, What are vaccines as we know them today, vaccines train your immune system, that system in your body that protects you from germs, in order to create antibodies in the same way that your body does when it is exposed to a disease. But since vaccines contain only a killed or weakened form of the germ, the germ meaning viruses or bacteria, they don’t cause the disease or put you at risk of that diseases. complications. Most vaccines are given by an injection, but some are also given orally, meaning by mouth or even sprayed up your nose. And vaccines are not failproof meaning that it doesn’t work 100% of the time, so far, at least. But it does use your body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger. It does this by learning and then remembering the germ. And then your body learns how to fight it.

But a lot of what seems to confuse people about these COVID vaccines is the fact that they are m r n a vaccines. But some people don’t know what that stands for. mRNA means messenger ribonucleic acid mRNA was discovered in 1961. That means it’s the age of one of my parents, I won’t tell you which one, but it’s been around for a while just like one of them. mRNA is the precursor to proteins in our body. Since 1961, all the way through to the 1990s. It was studied, and scientists continued to expand their understanding of what m RNA was plus how it could be used therapeutically. In 1995, the first m RNA cancer vaccine trials in mice started, it even resulted in successful antibody production. I don’t know if you all remember hearing about research happening on vaccines for cancer. But I remember hearing it out there in the news. And it turns out that in 2001, researchers began clinical trials in humans using the mRNA vaccines against cancer. Then, in 2009, they were able to use mRNA injections as immunotherapy for cancer in humans, then we get a little bit closer to the now. And in 2018, there were multiple human clinical trials for mRNA vaccines against HIV, rabies, influenza, or the flu virus, and Zika.

That wasn’t that long ago, you remember Zika? Right? People were freaking out. I was working at a clinic at the time. And we had to ask every single person who was even thinking about getting someone pregnant, or getting pregnant themselves if they had traveled to certain countries. Do you know what it’s like to work in a nonprofit clinic and try to ask people if they’re planning to get pregnant, it was a whole thing. And I’ll never forget it. But anyway, that leads us to the here and now and to scientists to finding that mRNA vaccines actually worked best against COVID-19 in comparison to all of the other viruses they tried it on before.

But how does that work? Corona viruses like the ones that cause COVID-19 are named for the crown like spikes on their surface, which are called spike proteins. These spike proteins are just ideal targets for the vaccines. And since mRNA is genetic material that tells your body how to make proteins. It was pretty perfect for this job. The vaccine is made of mRNA wrapped in a coating that makes delivery easy and it keeps our bodies from damaging it. I don’t know. Follow me here. Okay. So it’s kind of like when I teach people the difference between sperm and semen. There is a cell inside of a fluid or a barrier in order for it to be delivered. You’re welcome. Now when you go get your vaccine, maybe that comes up in your mind I’m sorry. The mRNA in the vaccine teaches yourself how to make copies of the spike protein. And if you were exposed to the real virus later, your body recognizes it and already knows how to fight it off. Luckily, and this is what normally happens in a body, after mRNA delivers these instructions, your cells, your body just breaks the mRNA down and gets rid of it. Like that’s what normally happens to messenger RNA, they killed the messenger.

So now you understand a little bit more about like the newer version of these vaccines that help protect us against viruses. There are some questions that people have about them, which is totally understandable. One of the bigger questions is, if you already had COVID, therefore your body already knows about these spike proteins and all of the things that are included, then do you need the vaccine? What’s difficult about all of this that I’m talking about today, is that we just keep learning new things about this virus because it’s completely new to the human species. And this is why it took a while for the medical field to figure out how to best to treat it. And it’s also why it took a while to figure out the best precautions like wearing face masks. Currently, there’s just not enough information available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID after they have already had it, which is sometimes called natural immunity. And so far, it seems as if natural immunity from COVID-19 doesn’t last very long. But more studies are needed. It’s good to know that several people that were included in the Pfizer clinical trial had previously had COVID. And they got vaccinated without ill effects meaning that they were all right. Currently, some scientists even believe that the vaccine offers better protection from the Coronavirus than a natural immunity and talking about what’s happening in your body naturally.

A lot of people have a lot of concerns because RNA sounds a lot like DNA. DNA is deoxy ribonucleic acid. And it’s where your genes or genetic information or instructions for being a human are kept. That’s different than the mRNA that I described to you earlier, the mRNA from the specifically the Pfizer and Madonna COVID-19. Vaccines do enter cells, but not the nucleus of the cells, which is where DNA resides, it’s that’s where it’s kept. The mRNA does its job, it causes the protein to stimulate or awaken the immune system. And then it quickly breaks down without ever touching your DNA. Some viruses, though, do change DNA, HIV is just one example. And there are also some vaccines in development that are being approved, which change DNA when it comes to genetic diseases. So this process is not unheard of. It’s just not what mRNA vaccines do.

But being that this type of vaccine is new to us, at least, how were they able to do this so quickly. And I know that a lot of things are happening in the past administration, there were a lot of words thrown at you. Not all of them actually should go together in a sentence. A lot of things don’t make sense. But if you can remember the three words of operation warp speed, then you actually have an idea of how this all happened as quickly as it did. Basically, the government allowed for scientists to science because we were in a global emergency, there’s actually a really easy to follow graph on the operation warp speed website, which Yes, still exists. We’ll include that chart in the show notes for you so that you can if you’re a visual learner, you can have a look at that. But basically what happened is that they were able to access study candidates in five months rather than the typical eight, and the government threw money at it. You know how people are always complaining about how our tax dollars should go towards research and education that could save lives rather than other things like the military. Well, this time they did actually fund research helping to accelerate a 42 month process into a six month one. They did things like taking the efforts that they usually put into flu season preparation and put it into the COVID response. They also started planning how to best distribute the vaccines before they were approved or done so that as soon as the vaccines were done, distribution efforts would be ready. Normally, this starts close to the very end of this entire process, but they were able and allowed to do this step while most of the other steps were happening as well. And that is just some of how they took this process that in its entirety. Takes about 73 months. Why do they say 73 months instead of a certain number of years, whatever, but they made it into 14 months, which is a year and two months. And then we ended up with the vaccines that got through.

And to start off for our international listeners, I know that this is very us heavy. And there’s a little bit of like American guilt on my end that this is more applicable to the entire world. But as I was doing this research, if I did one for the entire worlds, this episode would be too long, and you’d stopped listening to it. And I really want you to listen to the end. Maybe we’ll come back around when it’s appropriate and talk more about this on a larger scale than what is happening in the US specifically. But for now, I hope that this is a good tie in in a way. So basically, why isn’t the US using AstraZeneca? A lot of places are and in our research for this episode, because we my producer and I were both like, wait a minute, do we know why though. And according to Fauci, as well as a few other articles, apparently, for one, we got mad vaccines, like we were real scared. And then we overreacted in a good way for once, and were vaccine rich and AstraZeneca, like didn’t finish the entire application process. So then America is just kind of like, we got all these other vaccines were good. And I don’t know, I keep wanting to say things. And I’m like, it’s not gonna make a difference in three days. Who knows what the world is like to you. Now listener. Maybe were vaccine poor now, who knows. That being said, we also have the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. And this one is actually a little bit different than the Pfizer and moderna, which is why it takes one dose instead of two. It’s a different way of doing things. The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is based on viral vector technology that uses an inactive and harmless virus called the adenovirus, which would normally cause the common cold, the virus has been genetically modified to not cause any harm to the body, and it is instructed to carry a portion of the genetic code of the virus called the spike protein that causes the Coronavirus disease. The body then recognizes the spike proteins by instructing the cells to produce antibodies and to fight off the virus mRNA vaccines contain the recipe for those proteins that help the virus infect cells. And it tricks the body into making those spike proteins. So there’s just a slight difference between the two. I know that if I’m going to talk about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that a lot of people are going to want to hear about the side effect that caused it’s used to be paused. So the blood clots, and I do think we should talk about it, because six people did experience blood clots after their Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and there was one death included. Now this was out of 6.8 million people who were given the vaccine, but any death is obviously awful. That being said, the risk of blood clots is approximately point 00008 8%. And that just so happens to be less risky than birth control pill use, which is at point 052 point 12%. And many people with a uterus have been taking these for all kinds of reasons, including period regulation, acne, and pregnancy prevention, which is very different than trying to get a hold on a killer virus. And in my opinion, at least, but I do take all of that into consideration when choosing medicines, drugs and the like that I put into my body. Absolutely. And the fact that the protective agencies in place purposefully overreacted to these blood clot cases by pausing. The use of the j&j vaccine only shows me that they are taking this all very seriously and are willing to throw anything away, that doesn’t work correctly.

Lastly, just on the topic of all of these vaccines, and how fast they arrived, and scary side effects and whatnot, I think it’s good to know that there were actually like 89 vaccine, clinical trials. And then we only got a few used in our country, and about 12 around the world. And with all of these different vaccines now available in the US. Some people might be wondering if the government can make you get one of them and The answer is that the government can’t make you do that. But there are rules in place that have been there for at least as long as I’ve known. And I know I’m not very old. But I’m pretty sure a lot of these rules were around before I was even a thought. If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you might have had to prove that you’ve been vaccinated. I know that when I went to Senegal, about three years ago, I had to get two vaccines, I had to go to a place an independent place and pay them to get two vaccines and have them write it on my little yellow card to prove that I had been vaccinated before I can travel to Senegal. And I can also very clearly remember needing to prove my vaccination status in order to live on campus my first year of college. And I know that a lot of people have that experience and that this is truly nothing new.

On a related note, when talking about governments and what they can and can’t do, we have this entire space in here ready for like, why can’t all the countries access vaccines and then we threw it out the window because everything changed very quickly, when President Biden announced that he would like for other countries to be able to access the patents for these vaccines. And if you’re kind of confused as to how all of this works, I’ll admit that there was some confusion on my part as well. I’m not well versed in all of these things, and had to do some research. But what I found out is that for one, aside from patent protection, the US is now deciding to send our extra vaccines because like I said, we’re we’re vaccine rich vaccine. I was gonna say boujee, that doesn’t work. But it feels very boozy, that we just got all these damn vaccines and people not showing up for their appointments. But that’s a whole other episode. If you’re not gonna show up for your appointment, please cancel your appointment. Anyway, we’re going to be where meaning the US government, not Robin is going to be sending extra vaccines and materials to other countries that they can make their own vaccines. It’s sort of like a use it or lose it stance on states using the vaccines that are just sitting around. And our current President Biden supports the patents being removed, so that people countries can make their own vaccines. And this was what I was a little confused about. But apparently, the government would like for the World Trade Organization to make an exception on this patent letting other countries have access to the recipe. In order to make these vaccines, they would still have to pay for the recipe, but at least it would finally be available to them. But some believe that this shouldn’t happen, because they think that it could lead to repercussions for innovation. They believe that companies who developed the vaccines should be thanked for how hard they worked. And some people say that they should be able to hang on to their intellectual property. Even though relatively rich countries like the US paid them to do it already. They were already paid. And COVID doesn’t care about borders. So just don’t get me started about how the world should have just cancelled money last year. And then no government would have to worry about this because the entire world is dying. But that being said, it seems like people are starting to come around to the idea at the time of this recording. So I’m really happy about it, because I have to be there also I cry.

And what would a COVID vaccine episode B without a long list of possible side effects. And that’s what you came here for. Right? Robyn? Tell me what’s gonna happen. Let me start this out by telling you have no damn idea what’s going to happen to you. Don’t pretend like I tried to tell you anything. Because side effects are pretty common with the COVID vaccine. But they don’t happen to everybody. And no, it doesn’t necessarily depend on which vaccine you get. I’ve heard so many people say, Oh, good. You’re getting Pfizer. Madonna has so many side effects. anyone I know had side effects from that one. But meanwhile, I can think of over five people off the top of my head in my life who experienced nothing more than they normally would from like a flu shot. And they got Madonna. I also know people who had side effects after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. Just to bring this point home. I know a 94 year old woman who had no side effects, not from the first shot or the second. And like, her family was like she’s a little tired and confused, but really, she’s 94. So I don’t know Is she tired? Because she’s 94 or is she tired because of the vaccine? Because I know at 94 I think I just want to lay down all the time. So I can’t tell you if that was from Madonna are from life, because 94 is a long time to live.

All of that being said, I’m going to do the list thing, here are some side effects that are possible after having a COVID-19 vaccine, pain, redness and swelling around the sight of injection, which means where the needle went in your arm, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea in general. But here’s the things that I don’t hear a lot of people talking about, there are some ways that you can reduce a fever, or the discomfort or the pain that you have. And those include applying a clean, cool wet washcloth over the area that feels sore or tender, using or exercising your arm after you get the vaccine. I don’t hear this, like ever. So I’m gonna say that one more time, you can use or exercise the arm, but you just got the vaccine in, you just kind of you get the juices like moving in there. And it doesn’t get all stiff, doesn’t mean to say that you’re not gonna get soreness and whatnot. But the CDC and other sources have reported that it helps. This is a big one I hear just like in my personal life, drink mad water. Like that’s just what my friends say. I know, that’s not the clinical terminology. What I was supposed to say was drink plenty of fluids. But I’m gonna tell you drink mad water. It could be Gatorade. It could be the big aspedia light that I have in my house for tomorrow. I don’t know, I just choose. I don’t know, kids stuff seems to work a little bit better than the Gatorade stuff, because people really care about children being sick more than adults. Another thing that you can do is dress lightly. And you can take over the counter ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or anti histamines after you get vaccinated, not to before, I’ll say that, again. I’ve heard of some people taking it before. But the jury is still out about what happens if you take these things right before you are vaccinated afterwards seems like you’re in the clear. And you shouldn’t do any of these things without the guidance of your medical provider anyway, so go and talk to them about it. I’m not a doctor,

one of the side effects that won’t happen after you get the COVID-19 vaccine is testing positive for COVID. You won’t test positive for having the virus itself, or meaning having a current infection. But you might test positive for having the antibodies or those cells that know how to fight off the virus. But this is common for all viral tests, including ones for herpes, and most of the HIV tests that you’ve probably had. And all of those tests, they look for the antibodies and not the virus itself. So that’s actually pretty common. And in that same line getting the COVID vaccine does not give you COVID. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine can’t make you sick from COVID-19. But it is good to remember that it takes about two weeks after your final dose for someone to be considered fully vaccinated. So this means that someone can get sick with COVID within this time period. And like I mentioned before, it’s good to remember that vaccines are not foolproof. 95% is pretty good, but it’s not 100%. So there’s still a chance that someone could catch COVID from other people, but they can’t get it from the vaccines.

Lastly, to finish off talking about side effects, one that I don’t hear about very often is the skin rash that some people develop around their injection site. Sometimes people call this COVID arm. The CDC reports that some people have experienced a red, itchy, swollen or painful rash where they got the shot. Do you notice anything about that description of what to look out for? Well, I ended up noticing in a really big way when a black loved one of mine sent me a picture of their COVID rash and it wasn’t red at all. because well, oftentimes darker skin doesn’t show red on it in the same way that white skin does. And this is something that I really wanted to make sure to talk about quickly in this episode because we’ve spoken a lot about systemic racism in healthcare and wellness. And not having any pictures or descriptions of what a side effect can look like on darker skinned people is just messed up. And it makes me a little angry. But all the more determined to have these kinds of conversations and point out that when I was in college, most of the medical textbooks only included conditions on white skin. And all of that being said the picture that I saw of COVID arm on a black arm looked a lot like a really dark bruise which Makes a lot of sense when you think about it, because it’s being shown under darker skin. But I just thought it would be really good for our audience to know that. And these rashes can start a few days to more than a week after your first shot. And it can be as big as the person’s upper arm. If you happen to experience COVID arm after getting the first shot, you should still get your second shot at the recommended interval. If the vaccine you got needs a second shot, and just tell your vaccination provider that you experienced a rash or COVID arm after the first shot, your vaccine provider might recommend that you get the second shot in your opposite arm. And just to round it out, just like we’re learning so much, I got all of that information off of the CDC website. So the red itchy, swollen, yada, yada, but also the person I’m thinking about got the rash on their second shot, not their first shot. So also keep in mind that that’s possible, too.

Oh, my goodness, I hope you learned something from all of that. And I just want to finish off by talking about something that I posted about on the geek girl strong Instagram page, which is all about the new CDC mass recommendations now that people are getting vaccinated. So it’s good to know is that they are actually recommendations, they are recommendations and guidelines. So from state to state in the US government’s can interpret them as they wish. And we’ve already seen a lot of examples of this, as states decide that masks should go in the garbage, which is scientifically proven to not be a good idea. One of the biggest examples that I can think of that a lot of people had questions around was outside mask use when you’re vaccinated. According to the guidelines, if you are walking around, jogging, quickly passing by other people, you do not need to wear a mask outdoors. If you were to stop and talk to someone and you don’t know their vaccination status, you should put your mask back on. And there are a ton of other examples over in that post that I just spoke about. And we’ll include a link to that in our show notes as well. But this can all be very confusing. And just know that if you have questions, you can reach out. One of my biggest gripes with announcements like this is when they’re not specific enough, it is very easy to weasel out of them, which is a lot of the work that I do as a health coach in helping people make very specific goals and expectations. And I can definitely relate to it as a school teacher. And if you’re a teacher, you know this, you got to let your students know what you expect of them, or else they’re just going to do whatever they want. That being said, as I looked through the guidelines, it started making more sense. So you can head to that post and you can always reach out to us with questions.

That’s it. That’s all that I have for you. About COVID vaccines right now. I feel like we should have opened this as an NPR episode when they’re like the politics podcast The time is, things may change by the time you hear this. And of course, we would need more than one episode to cover everything about COVID vaccines. So if there’s anything that I missed, if there’s anything you feel that we should circle back on in some way, please feel free to reach out and ask some questions. You can reach out to us on our socials at healthy geek pod where that everywhere. If you want to find me slash geek girl strong in the community, you can find us at geek girl strong everywhere including Instagram, I actually tweet now and sometimes I even post the TIC Tock. I posted one on May 4 about doing tuck jumps and had some tuck jumps for masters Jedi and patwon. So you can check that out. And if you like this episode, and you want for my producer to be able to help me find this kind of information, you need to head on over to Patreon you can find our podcast slash making mischief. That’s where you can support all of the Mischief Media podcasts, including this one.

So you know that point at the end of a class when something happens and your teacher is just like, that’s fair. You’re right. You’ve done enough for the day. If you listened to this episode, I grant you 1 million I don’t know what this would go and I guess magic points. I don’t know you know what? x that cross that out on your character sheets you just leveled up. A you went from level X to level Why? Because I’m not gonna tell you what level you’re at because we individualize our education. I’m here in a in a way. This is the part of the show where I just start rambling because I still don’t have a sign off. And thank you to all of you who have tried to help me find one. I’m just going to end it by pretending that a bell in the classroom rings and releasing you. Enjoy

[outtake 1] you know what’s really great is now I’ve heard you all mess up. And it makes like now that I’ve recorded with other podcasts, it makes me feel so much better about myself because I’ve heard everyone like so many.

[outtake 2] British British Why can’t I speak today? brittish brittish brittish brittish brittish visit fuss fuck that British doctor by the name of Edward Jenner

[outtake 3] adeno. Okay, you can pop it in adenovirus. You should leave

[outtake 4] less risky than birth pill, birth pills. Birth pills.

[outtake 5] Lastly, to finish off talking about side effects, one that I don’t hear about very often is my dog.

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