Dramatic TikTok Video Explaining How mRNA COVID Vaccines Work Goes Viral

A TikTok video explaining how the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine works—featuring the immune system as a scientist and COVID-19 as a villain with fork hands—is going viral, amassing more than two million views on TikTok in one day.

TikTok user @hotvickkrishna's video begins with the vaccine being injected into somebody's arm. The mRNA then tells the ribosome that it needs to make antigens that look like forks, telling him, "it's a part of a virus."

He tells him the ribosome: "Just a part of it, not all of the virus. They're called COVID-19, they have fork hands, and they're coming."

As explained by Moderna: "mRNA medicines are sets of instructions. And these instructions direct cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease."

In the video, the mRNA is then destroyed by enzymes and the ribosome creates forks.

The immune system character, a scientist figure, turns up and says: "We've never seen this before, I'll make some new antibodies to get rid of them." The new antibody then appears as plastic gloves on the ribosome, who is told by the immune system to "seize the forks."

When COVID-19 turns up, he says: "Nice body, I'm going to make this place my new home."

The immune system then says: "Fork hands. Seize them." The antibody (represented by plastic gloves) then seizes COVID-19's fork hands, defeating the virus.

The video has been praised on social media for explaining how the vaccine works. Among its fans is Twitter user @be_nMD, who says he is an emergency physician in his bio. He shared the video and said: "This is the best explanation I've seen for how mRNA vaccines work!" The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times on Twitter.

This is the best explanation I’ve seen for how mRNA vaccines work! pic.twitter.com/fpkUhbhN1T

— Ben (@be_nMD) March 9, 2021

For a more detailed explanation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work. It says: "COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the 'spike protein.' The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.

"COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the immune cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them."

COVID-19 Vaccine
This picture taken on May 23, 2020, shows a laboratory technician holding a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate. A dramatic TikTok video explaining how the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine works has gone viral. Mladen Antonov/Getty

The CDC says: "Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. 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.

"At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is those vaccinated gain this protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19."

According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, more than 92 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given in the U.S., with 31 million people—or 9.56 percent of the population—fully vaccinated.

The chart below from Statista demonstrates the countries with the highest rate of COVID-19 vaccination, as of March 6, 2021.

Coronavirus Statista
This chart from Statista demonstrates the countries with the highest rate of COVID-19 vaccination. Statista