President’s Virtual Seminar Series host an Q&A about the COVID-19 vaccine

Brisa Flores, Reporter

The first President’s all-campus virtual seminar series of the spring semester was held on Feb. 2, a Q&A session about Covid-19 was discussed. Nicky Damania, the Director of Student Life here at Bakersfield College, introduced the panelists.
Dr. Sonya Christian, Bakersfield College President, was present and joined alongside Dr. Michael Saag, the Dean of Global Health at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Two BC students, Ian Spark, a BC pre-med student, and Kassandra Sweeney, a BC public health sciences student, were also panelists at the meeting.
Dr. Saag kicked the webinar off with, “We need to all have a sense of who we are as people. What makes us tick, and once you have that grounding, then the world is your oyster, and you can find your path.”
Spark and Sweeney asked Dr. Saag a series of questions regarding COVID-19 and the vaccine. Dr. Saag went on to give in-depth answers about the vaccine and how it works.
When Spark asked how does the body’s immunization process work, Dr. Sagg explained,
the vaccine primes the body’s immune system for when the virus enters the body, the immune system will know what to look for and how to respond to it before anyone knows they are infected.
Sparks then asked if the vaccine is safe for cancer patients currently undergoing treatment or chemotherapy.
“Yes, it’s safe, but one of the concerns we have is that people who have cancer or an autoimmune disease or something else where they’re getting chemotherapy or some of these immune-based therapies might not have quite the response in the protection that we would want them to have ordinarily,” Dr. Sagg answered.
Sweeney asked, with all the misinformation going around, what can educators do to help keep communities informed about the immunization process and make them more comfortable about getting the vaccine?
Dr. Sagg responded with, “These otherwise trusted voices who are giving them truthful information suddenly are no longer trustworthy, so that’s one thing that I think we have to overcome. The way we can overcome that, in my opinion, is to work with focus groups and people talking to peers.”
Sweeney also asked if there are any additional risks with attempting to accelerate the developmental process of the vaccine. Dr. Sagg replied that the speed of the developing process did not harm the process at all.
Dr. Sagg also spoked about his work at the University of Alabama. Sagg said he worked with other colleagues where they came up with a plan to have 8,000 COVID tests a day in all 52 campuses in Alabama, where they tested about 220,000 students in all. He then went on saying helped them get a hold of the epidemic early on in the breakout.
Dr. Sagg closed the webinar with two Hamilton quotes: “When it comes time to get your vaccine, don’t throw away your shot.” and “History has its eyes on us.”