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Talking Shots with Science Sam and U of T Professor Christina Guzzo (Part 3) 

While countries are racing to vaccinate as much of their population against COVID-19 as possible, new variants of concern are complicating efforts to stem the pandemic.  

In the final installment of a three-part series, Samantha Yammine – a neuroscientist, science communicator and University of Toronto alumna otherwise known as “Science Sam” – asks U of T researcher Christina Guzzo to address the question of the vaccines’ efficacy against COVID-19 variants. 

Guzzo, an assistant professor in the department of biological sciences at U of T Scarborough, points out that the immune response provided by the vaccines is not “all or nothing.” 

“There might be a chance that someone who is vaccinated might get infected with one of these variants of concern,” Guzzo says. “However, they are still protected. It may be a very mild infection.” 

“And in the very few rare cases where someone who is vaccinated did get infected, those people don’t spread the virus.” 

Yammine also poses a question on everyone’s minds: When can we return to normal? 

In response, Guzzo likens preventative measures against COVID-19 to slices of swiss cheese. Each strategy – from avoiding gatherings to wearing masks – is going to have holes, she says, but layering the slices atop one another, with vaccines as the “end game,” will make for robust protection against the virus.

Watch part one of the video series

Watch part two of the video series