Students Talk Science 2021: Student Productions

Vaccines in Layman’s Terms

By Leann Nicholas, Grade 12, Farmingdale High School
Brianna Francis, Grade 12, The Scholars, Academy High School

Our video series is a collection of Instagram reels directed toward the general public to educate them about vaccines (mainly Pfizer and Moderna). The videos give a definition of a vaccine, describe the types of vaccines, busting myths about vaccines, and ask true-or-false questions to test common misconceptions about the vaccine. At the end of every video, we list our sources.

  • Definition from CDC; Vaccine: “A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.”
  • Many vaccines are given through injections, but some can be administered through the nose or mouth.
  • If you are vaccinated against a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming seriously sick. (CDC)
  • mRNA
    • Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
    • mRNA vaccines contain instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus.
    • mRNA in vaccines isn’t new; researchers have been studying and working them for decades”
  • Protein subunit vaccines
    • Include harmless pieces (proteins) of the virus that cause the disease the disease instead of the entire germ (CDC)
  • Vector vaccines
    • Use a weakened version of a live virus—a different virus than the one that causes COVID-19— to carry genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 (the live virus is called a viral vector) (CDC). More common for OTHER vaccines.
  • A technological implant (Mayo Clinic)
  • A whole, live virus (CDC)
  • Something that’s going to change our DNA (CDC)
  • A cause of infertility or miscarriage (CDC)
  • An excuse to not wear a mask (Mayo Clinic)
  • Information source: Harvard Health
  • The Covid - 19 vaccine is less effective since it was produced so quickly.
    • False
    • The COVID-19 vaccine was produced relatively faster than previous vaccines because of tremendous amounts of funding, previous genomic research, and combined global efforts of health organizations (UC San Diego Health).
  • There are “long term” side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • False - unlikely, but this may not be known for certain for decades
    • Since the vaccine uses mRNA as its mode of immunization, which is eliminated from the body relatively quickly, clinical trials would most likely have found any long-term side effects of the vaccine in their several months of monitoring.
  • Common Side Effects of the Covid-19 vaccine are: Injection-site soreness, fever, fatigue.
    • True
    • Also common for other vaccines
  • Vaccines cause autism.
    • False
    • According to the CDC, “scientific studies and reviews continue to show no relationship between vaccines and autism.”
  • Information Source

Video Collections


In four interviews, students talked with physician/scientists from NIH and elsewhere about past and present
minority healthcare disparities, vaccine access and vaccine hesitancy.

Student Productions

Students produced their own videos about the science of the vaccine and the history of healthcare disparities in minority communities