I’ve spent 30 years trying to make complicated science understandable. Explaining how vaccines work can be especially tricky. Explaining the new technology used in COVID-19 vaccines can be trickier still.
So my heart filled with joy and delight when I saw Vick Krishna’s TikTok explaining how the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna work. So simple. So straightforward. So well done.
And fun to watch. It’s a horror film parody including a monster with spiky fork hands, people disappearing into thin air, a concerned scientist — the works. But the video is absolutely rated G.
If you can find a better way to explain why putting messenger RNA into a cell so it will make an antigen that will prompt the generation of neutralizing antibodies that will protect someone from COVID-19, I’d love to see it.
The best part: Krishna works at NPR as a development and operations engineer based in New York City.
NPR editor Suzette Lohmeyer caught up with the 32-year-old tech expert by day, videographer by night, to ask him a few questions about his video, which took just two days to film and edit but has garnered more than 6 million views on TikTok alone according to Fast Company.
What motivated you to make this TikTok?
I knew there was a lot of fear and misinformation about the vaccine, so I wanted to show in an entertaining way that this vaccine is not what they thought and ease their minds.
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How did you come up with the idea of “fork hands” to represent the coronavirus spike protein?
So I was doing a lot of research on the vaccine, and the key component to it was the spike protein. There was a fork on my table where I was writing the skit, and that clicked for me. Fork = coronavirus spike protein.
Has making explainer videos been something you’ve been into for a while, or did you just start with this one?
I’ve been making TikToks since the start of the pandemic as a creative outlet. And I’ve attempted to explain a lot of current events, like India’s farmers protest, in an easy way, along with just comedic skits.
How do you make the TikToks? And are you a solo act?
I just shoot these skits with my iPhone and edit on my PC by myself. I did have to ask my girlfriend to push the record button while I had “fork hands.”
Any more COVID-19 ideas you’re working on?
I am working on a video about why two doses are needed for the mRNA vaccine. I’m also trying to make a skit in support of #StopAAPIHate.
What are your future career plans? Something with film? Video?
My love is acting, and I’m a big dreamer. So hopefully I’ll land in TV/film one day.