January 22, 2021

COVID: Uncovered - 1/20/21

PBS North Carolina interviews DHVI director, Dr. Bart Haynes

A few takeaways from DHVI director, Dr. Bart Haynes' interview with PBS North Carolina on COVID-19 vaccines:

1. Modern and Pfizer/BioNTech produced COVID-19 vaccines so quickly because they use RNA material. Scientists have worked intensively to develop RNA vaccines for more than 15 years, including to develop vaccines for Zika virus and HIV.

2. Having federal funding available upfront was KEY in expediting COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials. If any “corners were cut" it was due to researchers having funding in place before they knew the vaccine would be effective.

3. All safety regulations and safety tests were carried out on both vaccines to ensure public safety.

4. Scientists are currently working on a COVID-19 vaccine that will induce long term protective immunity so people will not have to be vaccinated so often.

5. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have clinically proven to prevent disease. However, it is still being determined if the vaccines prevent infection. We will know more in the spring after more people have been vaccinated. Therefore, it is important to still practice social distancing and wear a mask even after you get vaccinated.

Watch interview here (clip begins at 12:05): COVID Uncovered | COVID: Uncovered - 1/20/21 | Episode 1 | PBS NC