10 Questions on Vaccines with Dr. Rupali J. Limaye

Dr. Rupali J. Limaye, an expert in vaccine behavior and decision-making at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, answers questions about vaccines, what “emergency authorization” entails, what a vaccine means for getting us back to normal, how to talk to people about vaccine fears, and more.

28 Dec 2020 | 03:08

Q: What are mRNA-based vaccines?

mRNA-based vaccines work by introducing something called an mRNA sequence into your body. It’s coded for a specific disease antigen so that when you are exposed to the actual virus itself, your body is ready to fight it.

Q: Can you get Covid from getting a Covid vaccine?

You cannot get Covid from getting the Covid vaccine. The vaccine does not include any ingredients that would actually give the disease.

Q: Even though you’re a public health expert, are you afraid of needles?

I’ve never been afraid of needles. However, I am a mother with two small kiddos. I try to also distract them and be like, “You’ll get a really cool band aid, right?” Like, whatever works.

Q: How does emergency use authorization for vaccines work?

When there is a declared emergency, the FDA can quickly and efficiently bring a new therapeutic product to the market.

Q: Does that mean emergency authorization cuts corners?

That is not the case. It’s still going through a rigorous safety and efficacy process any vaccine would go through.

Q: There are people who won’t take the first generation of this vaccine. How can we address people’s fears? Where does the fear of vaccines come from?

Some of the underlying drivers of that is that we’re living in a very uncertain world. There has already been a lot of individuals looking at the data, talking to individuals that have been in the trials and have done I would say their due diligence before bringing a product like a vaccine to the market.

Q: What will be the role of vaccines in the return to normalcy?

So it will be very important for us to make sure that we have a good proportion of the population that accepts the vaccine so that the virus essentially has no way to replicate and spread.

Q: What are you looking forward to most after you get the full Covid vaccine treatment?

We’re excited to go out to eat. I’m at a school of public health, and it’ll be really nice to go back to in-person classes. We’ve really missed that.

Q: Please fill in the blank: If everyone gets vaccinated...

It will really help us have a more normal life again.

Courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies