Coronavirus Pandemic: Vaccines

With expertise in a broad range of fields, Penn State experts can provide unique commentary on COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness, distribution, and societal implications.

  • Andrew Read

    Director, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

    Health & Medicine

  • Bernice Hausman

    Professor and Chair, Department of Humanities

    Health & Medicine

  • Maciej Boni

    Associate Professor of Biology

    Health & Medicine, Agriculture

  • S. Shyam Sundar

    James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects

    Social Sciences, Journalism & Media, Telecommunications

  • Simon Haeder

    Assistant Professor of Public Policy

    Health & Medicine, Law and Policy, Politics & Policy

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out across the United States, questions related to vaccine safety and effectiveness, side effects, variants, vaccine hesitancy and misinformation on social media, remain top of mind for many Americans.

Penn State researchers bring their deep knowledge in their fields of expertise to bear on these questions, providing simple explanations to the complex issues we face with these vaccines. Our experts are readily available to offer their insights during the pandemic’s constantly shifting landscape.

  • The Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD) at Penn State combines interdisciplinary faculty expertise in virology, ecology, evolution, mathematical biology, modeling and molecular biology, as well as applied disciplines including epidemiology and vector control.
  • The Division of Infectious Diseases at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is home to 11 infectious disease specialists. They aim to advance understanding of microbial pathogenesis and discover new ways to prevent and treat infectious diseases.
Andrew Read

Andrew Read

Director, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences,
Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Entomology

Expertise:

  • Health & Medicine

Focus Areas:

  • Infectious Disease
  • Pathobiology
  • Genetics
  • Drug Resistance

Contact Andrew Read with questions about: various aspects of SARS-CoV-2 mutation and evolution; the likelihood that SARS-CoV-2 could evolve resistance to the COVID-19 vaccines and what may be done to prevent such an outcome; the potential ramifications of imperfect vaccination coverage due to the failure of the vaccine to prevent transmission or of patients to get their second booster shots, for example; how new strains of the virus may affect vaccination strategies and effectiveness; and antibiotic and vaccine resistance, generally.

Bernice Hausman

Bernice Hausman

Professor and Chair, Department of Humanities,
Professor, Public Health Sciences

Expertise

  • Health & Medicine

Focus Areas:

  • Infectious Disease
  • Health Policy

Contact Bernice Hausman with questions about: vaccine hesitancy and the COVID-19 pandemic, the demographic factors influencing opposition to the recently released COVID-19 vaccine, and the cultural factors that form the principles behind vaccine resistance and refusal. She can be consulted about the history of vaccine resistance, vaccine mandates, and controversies about vaccine injury. She can also speak more generally about the origins of and factors contributing to the public's mistrust in science and medicine.

Maciej Boni

Maciej Boni

Associate Professor of Biology

Expertise:

  • Health & Medicine
  • Agriculture

Focus Areas:

  • Infectious Disease
  • Vector-borne Diseases
  • Genomics
  • Global Health
  • Drug Resistance

Contact Maciej Boni with questions about: the various modeling efforts underway to predict the spread of SARS-CoV-2; the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines, including the extent of vaccination coverage that may be required across the population to achieve herd immunity; the projected healthcare impacts of COVID-19 based on the virus's infection rate at any given point; and modeling and projections for disease spread, generally.

S. Shyam Sundar

S. Shyam Sundar

James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects,
Co-Director, Media Effects Research Laboratory

Expertise

  • Social Sciences
  • Journalism & Media
  • Telecommunications
  • Digital Media Technologies

Focus Areas:

  • Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Media
  • Social Media
  • Psychological Effects of Digital Media Technologies
  • Interactive Media
  • Mobile Media
  • Customized and Personalized Media
  • Online Credibility
  • Fake News
  • Online Privacy
  • Virtual Assistants
  • Communication
  • Artificial Intelligence

Contact S. Shyam Sundar with questions about: the rampant misinformation and fake news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccines, in particular, as well as how trustworthy internet-based information sources can be identified.

Simon  Haeder

Simon Haeder

Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Expertise:

  • Health & Medicine
  • Law and Policy
  • Politics & Policy

Focus Areas:

  • Research to Policy
  • Health Policy
  • Affordable Care Act

Contact Simon Haeder with questions about: COVID-19 vaccine policy implementation, equity issues related to vaccine distribution, and whether companies and schools should require employees and students to be vaccinated. He can also discuss the ways in which partisan politics challenge our handling of this national health emergency, Finally, Haeder can comment on U.S. healthcare system policies and preparedness, generally.

Need help finding an expert?

Penn State expertise spans far beyond those that we have currently featured on the site. Call us at 814-865-7517 or contact a member of the media relations staff

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