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University of Arizona studying COVID-19 vaccine efficacy

Posted at 9:58 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 00:18:39-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The University of Arizona has been studying COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Dr. Jeff Burgess, an Associate Dean for Research and Professor in the College of Public Health, has been leading a study that has followed more than 2,500 people throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Burgess has been examining the risk of reinfection to those who are in high-risk environments like nurses and first responders. Additionally, Dr. Burgess will be looking closely at the impact different COVID-19 variants have on vaccines.

"We will have information on that," Dr. Burgess said. "It's just too early of a point so far to tell."

Dr. Burgess said he has seen the variants circulating in Arizona.

"We know that they are there," Dr. Burgess said. "They are likely going to continue to increase in terms of the percentage of all infections because they are more transmissible."

While he does not know yet how they will impact vaccine efficacy, he says that people should still be encouraged to get a vaccine when they can.

The state-run point-of-distribution (POD) site at the University of Arizona opens tomorrow.

On the first day of appointments, nearly 12,000 people signed up within 3 hours filling up all the available appointments. Alan Monchick was one of them.

Monchick hopes this is the beginning to the end of the pandemic.

"So, I am looking for a more normal life at this point, and as I said it's not going to immediately," Monchick said. "But there is light at the end of the tunnel."