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An Israeli scientist works on a potential coronavirus vaccine.
Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images

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How a vaccine gets made, explained (to kids)

Today, Explained to Kids heads back to the Island of Explained to answer kids’ questions about why a coronavirus vaccine takes so long.

School’s out for summer. And maybe longer, as scientists race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. But why is it taking so long?

The first of four episodes of Today, Explained to Kids: Summer Camp, Vox’s explainer podcast for kids, answers that question by taking kids back to the Island of Explained to talk to scientist Maria Elena Bottazzi, a microbiologist who co-leads vaccine development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, about the development of a vaccine. We also take a curious kid, Mikah, to meet the Experimoth and learn more about why designing an experiment isn’t always as easy as it seems.

Listen to the episode with the young people in your life — or just because — and then come back here to download our episode discussion guide and a fun (and kinda gross) experiment you can do with kids (or, again, by yourself) that builds on what we learned in the episode.

Grown-ups: The discussion guide riffs on what we learned in the episode and the experiment to help start a conversation about social issues. Just like science experiments, it’s all about open-minded observation, asking questions, making predictions, and challenging conclusions.

Thanks to early childhood education specialists Rachel Giannini and Saleem Hue Penny for developing our learning materials!

Listen to more Today, Explained to Kids episodes:

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