Words & Video by Dr. Rob Swanda
In early December 2020 I stood in front of a whiteboard and explained to my non-scientist parents how the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines would work. At this time the vaccines targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were in the process of being submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA). The word ‘mRNA’ quickly became a hot topic for discussion overnight. Media organizations tried to make sense of this technology, but unfortunately false claims and misinformation began to spread. I noticed hesitation from my relatives as they were confused on all the details streaming into their network.
I knew I could not let false scientific information propagate, so I gathered them up and gave them their first (and soon to find out, not last) lesson in biochemistry. After a short 5-minute overview my family of non-scientists grasped the concept. My work was done, and I was flooded with relief knowing they felt confident being vaccinated for Covid-19.
Shortly after, my mom asked me to record my mRNA vaccine lesson so she could distribute this information within her circle. I followed her suggestion and shared this video with her and with some other close friends of mine. They encouraged me to post this on my social media platforms, despite my hesitation that it could spark negative feedback and that my network was very small. After contemplating, I posted the video across social networks, returned to my typical lab day, and I didn’t think my classroom was about to expand to fill millions of seats.
When I checked back in on social media, I was flooded with messages, comments, shares, new followers, more love than I ever thought, and a lot of questions. My lessons were just getting started and I learned and grew with you all, together. Now, we have amassed over two dozen educational videos, engaging with 30+ million people from more than 100 countries. We grew to have appearances on television, features in print & online media, a professional website and an unexpected (but amazing) pivot to my career with a new role researching innovation for the next generation of medical devices.
I am constantly amazed and will be forever grateful for what took place in the 12 short months since posting my video explaining how mRNA vaccines work. What a year it has been! But this could not have been possible without YOU. My warmest thank you and gratitude to each and every one of the people who have watched, read, liked, shared, engaged, commented, followed, subscribed, retweeted and reached-out. I am stoked for everything we have achieved together in 2021 and I cannot wait to see what 2022 has in store.
As we enter the last days of 2021 and the holiday season gets into full swing, I wish you a healthy and happy festive time with your loved ones and friends.
Video: ONE YEAR! Thank you all!
Author: Rob Swanda, PhD of drswanda.com
Title: 30 MILLION THANK YOUS
Date first published: 09 December 2021