COVID-19 Virus & the Impact of Vaccines

MARCH 8, 2021 –

In the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine trials, COVID-19 vaccines are primarily being tested to determine whether they prevent a person from getting sick, from having a prolonged illness, or hospitalization. Importantly, these clinical trials are not focused on whether a vaccine prevents someone from getting the virus at all. In other words, a COVID-19 vaccine may benefit the individual who gets vaccinated, but the virus may still invade the body and it’s possible – if not likely – that a vaccinated person can still spread the virus to others. This is a critical distinction that has received little attention.  During this Community Conversation, Dr. Larry Corey will discuss the open questions about transmission and explore what behavior is still necessary as we navigate through the pandemic.


  1. Explain how mRNA vaccines differ from other existing vaccines and those new vaccines on the horizon of approval in the near future.
  2. Learn about the scope of protection of the vaccines (prevention of infection vs. impact on transmission).
  3. Discuss what we know about the new variants of the COVID-19 virus.


  • Larry Corey, MD, Professor of Medicine and Virology,  UW School of Medicine and a Professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division/ Past President and Director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Dr. Dale Reisner, Medical Director (OB/GYN Quality and Safety) at Swedish Health Services
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