Vaccines and COVID-19 – Lecture in a Box

Published August 19, 2021

By Kelly Cowan

COVID-19 has challenged everyone to understand how vaccines work and how we can ensure their safety. This talk from microbiology author Marjorie Kelly Cowan is an update of her early summer talk and provides vaccine basics and then the particulars of the vaccines used for COVID-19. Be sure that your students have access to an authoritative source of information amongst all the noise in the cybersphere concerning vaccines, with this 38-minute video pulling on concepts and figures from her microbiology textbooks.

Scientists have produced effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. The speed with which the vaccines were produced is unprecedented, and that makes some worry that they were “rushed through” and may not be safe or effective.  This mini-lecture reviews vaccine biology and discusses how the current vaccines were made and assessed and discusses their safety profile now that they are being administered to the public.

Below you will find three multiple choice questions that you can use to test your students on their knowledge after viewing the lecture.

MC Questions for “Vaccines and COVID”

  1. Which of the following is a characteristic of adaptive immunity?
    1. It mounts an immediate, effective response after initial exposure to antigen.
    2. It has a separate response for each antigen it encounters.
    3. It results in tolerance to foreign antigens.
    4. Once activated it stays “on” for the life of the host.
  2. By the time a vaccine is released to the public, it has been tested in
    1. a handful of people.
    2. dozens of people.
    3. hundreds of people.
    4. thousands of people.
  3. Herd immunity to COVID will be achieved when
    1. between 60-80% of the population is vaccinated.
    2. the elderly population is vaccinated.
    3. 100% of the population is vaccinated.
    4. 100% mask compliance is achieved.

About the Author

Kelly Cowan has taught microbiology to pre-nursing and allied health students for over 20 years. She received her PhD from the University of Louisville and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Maryland and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her campus, Miami University Middletown, is an open admissions regional campus of Miami University in Ohio. She has also authored over 25 basic research papers with her undergraduate and graduate students. For the past several years, she has turned her focus to studying pedagogical techniques that narrow the gap between under resourced students and well-resourced students. She is past chair of the American Society for Microbiology’s Undergraduate Education committee and past chair of ASM’s education division, Division W.