BANGOR– It’s been over a year since COVID-19 first came to the United States. During this time, millions of Americans have been looking to science to come up with a vaccine that will allow our nation to resume life without masking, physical distancing, frequent hand washing and daily infection counts.
In less than a year, science delivered. Today, Americans have access to three different vaccines. A nationwide drive is currently underway that will provide every man and woman above the age of 16 with the opportunity to be inoculated. Once everyone has been vaccinated, the pandemic can finally end.
“Since the pandemic began, we’ve learned that some people understand the benefits of vaccines and their ability to help protect individuals from the spread of disease. Unfortunately, it’s also become apparent that others have concerns because they don’t understand how the vaccines actually work and why they’re safe,” said Dr. Elisabeth Marnik, an assistant professor in Husson University’s College of Science and Humanities. “From a scientific standpoint, the way vaccines provide immunity in a safe and effective way is both fascinating and remarkable.”
To help the public better understand how vaccines work, the Maine Science Festival will be hosting a one-hour online presentation at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30 by Dr. Marnik called “COVID Vaccines Explained.” During the presentation, she will provide an overview of the new COVID-19 vaccines and explain their role in helping to end the current worldwide pandemic. Individuals interested in signing up for this online forum should visit http://bit.ly/30MarchMSFBonus.
Topics to be covered during Dr. Marnik’s presentation will include some explanations of the difference between mRNA and conventional vaccines; herd immunity; common myths and concerns; and why it takes time to develop and test a vaccine before it is approved for use.
“One of the great things about the Maine Science Festival is that it always has interesting presentations that show people how science impacts their daily lives,” continued Marnik. “This year’s slate of COVID-19 related online presentations will show the direct and substantive effects of science on individuals and how research is helping to end the pandemic.”
“Enriching and inspiring the next generation of student scientists is an important part of the annual Maine Science Festival,” said Dean Patricia Bixel, PhD, dean of the College of Science and Humanities. “Who knows? Dr. Marnik’s presentation could be what sets a young person on a career path toward someday developing a vaccine that cures cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. When we plant the seeds of inspiration, nurture the curiosity of young people, and help that curiosity flourish with STEM education, our society reaps the benefits of their success.”
Husson University Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Lynne Coy-Ogan, EdD, observed, “The Maine Science Festival is also an outstanding way to help showcase the variety of science-related expertise available at Husson University. Our faculty members have both in-depth scientific knowledge and practical experience in applying science to real-life situations. We’re proud to support this educational effort and help make the festival a great experience for students of all ages.”