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Video: CU Anschutz Leaders Discuss Vaccine Progress, Distribution and Efficacy

Experts address questions around the COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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What You Need To Know

Expert panel discusses topics including new variants of the virus, vaccine progress and what to expect in the coming months.

As vaccine distribution is underway around the world, the virtual panel series, “A Conversation on COVID-19 with the CU Anschutz Medical Campus,” continued on Monday. Healthcare leaders discussed topics including vaccine progress, distribution and efficacy.

John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, dean of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and vice chancellor for health affairs, moderated the panel and Chancellor Don Elliman served as the host. Elliman welcomed guests (over 2,000 registered) to the virtual event and thanked the entire campus community for adapting in the face of uncertainty to deliver on our research, clinical care and education missions.

‘Carry forward the momentum’

Chancellor Elliman said, “As we look to the future, we hope to carry forward the momentum of promising vaccine efforts underway. This shift brings both hope and unique challenges as we continue to come together to pursue a brighter tomorrow.” He also expressed gratitude for philanthropic partners, whose support allows the campus to remain nimble in our response as needs change and evolve.

The panel featured Michelle Barron, MD, professor of infectious diseases and senior medical director of infection prevention and control for UCHealth; Thomas Campbell, MD, professor of infectious diseases and chief clinical research officer at UCHealth; Richard Zane, MD, professor and chair of emergency medicine and chief innovation officer at UCHealth; and Rosemary Rochford, PhD, professor of immunology and microbiology.

Vaccines, variants

The experts shared insights on the timeline of vaccine distribution as well as updates on COVID-19 variants, in an effort to address factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy. They addressed common concerns including potential side effects and efficacy following the first and second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Panelists also stressed the safety and efficacy of the current vaccines, noting that substantial research has allowed for their swift development. They discussed vaccine prioritization and what needs to be done to safely achieve herd immunity, which will depend upon a majority of individuals continuing to get vaccinated. Herd immunity occurs when enough people in the community have become immune to infectious disease, usually through vaccination, reducing the risk of spread.

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