September 27, 2020 9:05 pm

Monday, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dr. Paul Offit, MD, Talk COVID-19 Vaccines

As the seasons change and the weather gets colder (or warmer depending upon where you are) the current COVID-19 pandemic continues to take shape around us. With different camps saying different things about possible vaccines, timelines, and other factors, we’re bringing you a special edition of Cosmic Queries to answer your questions about what’s going on.

Storyblock’s image of a doctor administering an injection used for a StarTalk episode about a COVID-19 vaccine.

Image Credit: Storyblocks.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Paul Mecurio are joined by Dr. Paul Offit, MD, Director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We start with the big question: What is going on? How did something like this happen in modern times?

We discuss why earlier knowledge of the outbreak would’ve helped prepare us for the current situation. Paul tells us how he navigates anti-vaccine supporters and people who don’t want to wear a mask. We explore the difference between being a vaccine skeptic vs. being a vaccine cynic.

Then we go back to Vaccines 101. How do vaccines work? Why do they usually take so long to produce? Paul explains the “normal” procedure to develop a new vaccine and why creating a COVID-19 vaccine can be extremely accelerated. We also ask, “Will a vaccine reduce the numbers of anti-vaxxers?”

We investigate the proposed strategies once a vaccine is available to the public. Paul tells us who will likely get vaccinated first. We discuss if COVID-19 will linger like the flu or if we can completely erase it from the Earth. All that, plus, Neil wonders why modern medicine practices haven’t been able to use computer simulation to test vaccines on human physiology.

Please join us tomorrow for Cosmic Queries – COVID-19 Vaccines at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re a StarTalk+ Patron you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
– Ian Mullen

Get the most out of StarTalk!

Ad-Free Audio Downloads
Ad-Free Video Episodes
Stickers & Mugs
Live Streams with Neil
Priority Cosmic Queries
Early-Access Videos
Learn the Meaning of Life
...and much more