COVID-19 Science

We have taken your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and worked with experts to help to answer them. Check out the resources below.

COVID-19 Vaccine: Ask the Experts Live Q&A

On the Thursday 17th December at 7:30pm we hosted a live Q&A panel event with the Translational Research Exchange @ Exeter (TREE). This event gave the public an opportunity to ask their COVID-19 related questions to a panel of doctors and scientists from across the South West, with specialisms spanning the COVID-19 vaccine, virus, treatment and testing.

The live recording is available on our YouTube Channel and can be watched below. We had lots of questions that we didn’t have time to answer during the event, so the experts have been answering additional questions for us – this will be updated periodically:

This special live event was co-hosted by Exeter Science Centre and the Translational Research Exchange @ Exeter (TREE – on 17th December 2020. Panel Chair: Prof Willie Hamilton (University of Exeter, TREE). Panelists: Dr Jessica Danielson, Dr Tom Lewis, Dr Stephen Michell, Dr David Strain, Dr Johanna Kellett Wright.
Our panel are responding with their expertise, experience and opinions and are not doing so on behalf of any organisation. This is a rapidly changing situation, and though correct to the best of our panelists’ knowledge at the time of recording, the guidance can change as new evidence arises. We will post any key updates in the description.

24:26 – New strain transmissibility: New evidence published on 31st Dec 2020 shows that the new strain is more transmissible. More information about the new variant here..
39:40 – Vaccinations for pregnant women: Most live vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women, but some vaccines are still strongly recommended. Please see the answer on pregnancy here for additional clarification.
45:31 – This is quite a complicated subject about how vaccines work, and it’s important to emphasise that the evidence does not yet say that the vaccine will reduce transmission. Have a look at the question about behaving normally again here for more clarification.

Follow-up: Facebook Live Discussion with Dr David Strain

As part of our British Science Week Facebook Live events, Alice met with Dr David Strain who took part in our Ask the Experts Panel, to find out more about the COVID-19 response in the South West:

Schools’ Questions

Questions asked by young people and answered by the experts.

Thank you to all the school students, parents and teachers that sent us their COVID-19 questions. COVID-19 experts Dr Phil Mitchelmore and Dr Gus Hamilton have recorded YouTube videos to answer your questions and clarify the science behind the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, at a level suitable for young people.

In this video, Dr Phil Mitchelmore answers the following questions:

  • “Will the Vaccine work against the new COVID-19 variant?”
  • “How do you know it’s going to work?”
  • “How long can it be kept out of the fridge? How it is transported / stored?”

In this video, Dr Gus Hamilton answers the following questions:

  • “When will under-18s with no underlying health conditions be vaccinated? And can it be administered as a nasal spray, like the flu vaccine?”
  • “When do you think Coronavirus will be over?”
  • “Will the vaccine work on everyone & how long will the vaccine protect you? Will we need a vaccination every year like the flu vaccine?”
  • “How many types of coronavirus vaccines have been produced? How do the different vaccines all compare to each other?”

Information and Resources

Links and further reading

Here are some helpful resources recommended by the experts from our Q&A panel, particularly on the COVID-19 but also on related topics including vaccinations in general:

Oxford Vaccine Group’s Vaccine Knowledge project

“The Vaccine Knowledge Project aims to be a source of independent information about vaccines and infectious diseases. We provide clear information on complex topics and back it up with references to high-quality, reliable research.”

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

This agency is mentioned various times by our Q&A panel. “The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. MHRA is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care.”