On Monday 29 April, the British Society for Immunology is joining forces with the Francis Crick Institute and Nature Portfolio to celebrate International Day of Immunology 2021. From 18:00 to 19:30 BST, this virtual event 'Vaccines, COVID-19 and beyond' will celebrate vaccines as one of the world's greatest successes.
Featuring a panel of internationally renowned research scientists you will learn about vaccines created for SARS-CoV-2 and other deadly infections. The panellists will explain how effective COVID-19 vaccines have been developed so quickly and highlight the remarkable achievements of other vaccination programmes from the past century. Book your free place.
Scientist, researcher, author, science explainer, Dr Peter Hotez
Associate Professor and Jenner Investigator, University of Oxford, Prof Teresa Lambe
Francis Crick Institute Group Leader and viral immunity researcher, Dr Andreas Wack
Chaired by award-winning BBC Broadcaster Claudia Hammond
Vaccines are one of the greatest medical achievements of all time. In the early 20th century, many thousands of people died each year from diseases such as measles, diphtheria and whooping cough, which are now prevented by childhood vaccination. Smallpox used to kill millions but has been completely eradicated by vaccination. In some ways, vaccines have become a victim of their own success — most people now lack first-hand experience of how severe these diseases can be.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced what a powerful tool for public health vaccines really are. Remarkably, in less than a year since the pandemic was declared, scientists have been able to develop a number of highly effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These vaccines train your immune system to protect you against the virus and are already reducing hospitalisations and death rates. Thanks to these vaccines we can now start to think about a return to our ‘normal’ lives again.
The panellists will explain how different types of vaccines educate your immune system so that it is able to protect you against infections. Find out what herd immunity really means and how antibodies and T cells from your immune system can destroy bacteria and viruses. And did you know that vaccines are not only for fighting infectious diseases? In the future, it is likely that we will have vaccines that protect us from cancer too.