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.