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Symposium featuring Fauci explores future of vaccine and virus

Why it matters:

Dr. Anthony Fauci delivered a keynote address exploring the pandemic response options after the production of a vaccine.

A Johns Hopkins symposium brought together researchers, clinicians, and the public for a discussion about the future of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.

The November 20 symposium, “COVID-19 Symposium at Hopkins: Navigating the pandemic when effective vaccines are in the policy toolbox,” was hosted by the Hopkins Business of Health Initiative and featured Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as the keynote speaker.


Fauci’s address first walked the audience through the epidemiology, virology, and clinical manifestations of the virus. He then turned his focus to emerging therapeutics, including the promising Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, calling them “extraordinarily good news.”

“We know what the efficacy of the vaccines is, but [their] effectiveness will depend on how many people take the vaccine,” Fauci said, noting that many citizens continue to feel skeptical about science and vaccines.

Despite the success of any vaccine and public health measures, pandemics are here to stay, Fauci said.

“We’ve always had pandemics. We are living through a historic one now. And there will be ones in the future,” he said.

Fauci urged the attendees to “retain our corporate memory” and not make the same mistakes when confronted with the next pandemic.

His analysis was followed by two panel discussions.

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Daniel PolskyBloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Economics at Carey Business School, was joined by other financial and public health experts in the first panel discussion, “Barriers and strategies to achieving optimal COVID-19 vaccination rates.” They considered whether financial incentives could induce people to get vaccinated or whether behavioral factors need to be taken into account. Mario Macis, Professor of Economics at Carey Business School, moderated the panel.

The second panel discussion, “The pandemic in 2021: setting policy priorities and filling evidence gaps,” considered how policymakers can help reduce transmission and how to balance tradeoffs when weighing difficult health policy decisions.

The Hopkins Business of Health Initiative is a new university initiative to improve health care affordability, access, equity, and value through the integration of public-private approaches by uniting world-class experts in research, policy, and practice across Carey Business School, Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and School of Medicine.

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