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Depending who you ask, the COVID-19 vaccine could be the miraculous answer to worldwide prayers. Others may think it's an ill-tested, reckless way to control increasingly desperate people. Suffice to say, there's no shortage of opinions on whether the vaccine is safe, effective or even ethical—all while the list of myths surrounding it continues to grow.
Fortunately, University of Utah's College of Science is clearing up much of the confusion surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines in its quarterly virtual lecture series, "Understanding the Science". This quarter's installment, currently scheduled for Feb. 17, tackles one of the hottest topics not only in the community but in the entire world: COVID-19 vaccines.
Moderated by Tom Thatcher of Intuitive Funding, which is sponsoring the event, this free, virtual panel includes experts from both the University of Utah campus and across the state, including Dr. Fred Adler of the university's Department of Mathematics, Jennifer Dailey-Provost, Utah State Representative, Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, an infectious disease physician at U Health, and Dr. Ryan Looper of the University of Utah's Department of Chemistry.
Together, panelists will address the science behind the COVID-19 vaccine, information on community spread, policy insight on vaccine rollout schedules and how the vaccine will impact the economy and the future—right here in Utah and around the world.
Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions regarding the vaccine when they register for the event, which may be discussed during the webinar. So, whether you're worried about any of the myths circulating around the vaccine—like the claim that it impacts fertility or that its speedy development undermines its safety and effectiveness—you can pose these topics for discussion by the panel.
Discussing the COVID-19 vaccine is a natural topic for the Understanding the Science lecture series, which brings scientific experts, government leaders and community advocates together to discuss major issues facing Utahans today. And since the Utah Health Department reports more than 337,000 Utahans have contracted COVID-19 so far—with more than 1,600 dying from the disease and an entire state living under regulations to slow the spread—this is one issue affecting every Utah resident.
"Understanding the Science: COVID-19 Vaccine" will be held virtually Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 7-9 p.m. If you plan to attend, please register on the event webpage. While the College of Science's Lecture Series has historically been an in-person event, COVID-19's social distancing practices have necessitated the shift to virtual webinars.
That said, with a vaccine now available to at-risk populations and wider availability on the horizon, the University of Utah College of Science hopes to return to in-person events later in 2021.
COVID-19 has dramatically shifted Utahan's way of life. With vaccines becoming available for more and more Utahans, it's important to understand its risks, the myths surrounding them and the possible impact on the future. Find out more about the free webinar, register and submit your questions for discussion at the University of Utah.