If a doctor ever explained to you a super complex concept but made it seem even more confusing, you are not alone ("you're telling me what now?!"). So, when a healthcare professional uses their platform to break things down in a way that we can actually understand and digest without turning to Google for the umpteenth time, we're all for it. Get ready to laugh and learn — a lot. In a viral video, Shelly, a nurse with eight years of experience who has more than 112,000 followers on TikTok, hilariously (but accurately!) explains how the body's immune response forms after receiving either of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the US. And she uses beatboxing and costumes to do the trick.
Vaccines approved for emergency use authorization are Pfizer and Moderna — and both are two-dose messenger RNA vaccines (also called mRNA). These types of vaccines, according to the CDC, instruct our cells to make "harmless" copies of the spike protein found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. "After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them," the CDC states.
"Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface," the CDC says. "Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn't belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19."
More specifically, the body is left with "memory" T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes (T and B cells shown beating up the spike protein from the vaccine in this video) that remember how to fight off the virus. B cells are white blood cells that create antibodies, and T cells are another type of white blood cell that help attack infection.
It can take up to a few weeks for your body to develop immunity, and it's still unclear how long someone is immune after getting the vaccine. Two doses are needed for the most protection against COVID-19.
"In the process of brainstorming for the video, I saw on social media there was a large audience who did not quite understand the science behind the mRNA vaccine and how the body reacts to it," Shelly, BSN, who specializes in emergency medicine and critical care, told POPSUGAR. "I saw an opportunity to explain the science behind the mRNA vaccine in a unique way." The beatboxing audio, she wanted to note, is from musician Nicole Paris.
Shelly added that some people who were fearful of getting the vaccine have sent her messages saying that her video changed their minds. "It was a short 59 seconds but has made a huge impact," she stated. Though there's nothing funny about COVID-19, this little piece of informative humor is exactly what we wanted to see to get us educated about mRNA coronavirus vaccines — beatboxing, punches, and all.