CYNTHIA LEIFER: Let's talk about how vaccines work.
AVERY AUGUST: What is herd immunity and why can't it just wait? Herd immunity, also called community immunity, is a process where many people are vaccinated. And so you have few people who can now be infected with the virus. So the virus can't find anyone to infect and so the infection can die out. So that's why it's so important for everyone in the community, as many people as possible, to get vaccinated. So we can start to reduce the spread of the virus.
CYNTHIA LEIFER: Will I need to get a COVID vaccine every year? The short answer is, we don't know yet. We don't know how long protection will last from either natural infection or the vaccine. What we do know is viruses like influenza change all the time and so does the coronavirus. Right now, most of us get a flu vaccine every year. So we don't know whether we'll need a yearly vaccine, but it's possible that we will need additional vaccines against variants of COVID that arise in the future.
AVERY AUGUST: Are the vaccines that are currently approved by the FDA working against variants? The answer is yes, the vaccines that are currently in the market, the Moderna, the Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, do work against the variants. To varying degrees but they work against variants. Luckily, because we have discovered how to make these vaccines fairly quickly, the companies are going back and making vaccines specifically for the variants. And we hope that that will happen much faster.
We've received your request
You will be notified by email when the transcript and captions are available. The process may take up to 5 business days. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this request.
Cornell immunology experts Avery August and Cynthia Leifer answer common questions on vaccines, variants and herd immunity.