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COVID-19: UVA School of Medicine launches virtual town halls starting March 22 at 8 p.m.

Under the auspices of the University School of Medicine, 50+ scientific experts from across the United States, including virologists, infectious disease specialists and medical doctors, are launching a series of virtual town halls beginning March 22 to answer the public’s questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

The effort aims to bring factual, scientific information to people across the country, particularly communities of color that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Questions about safety, speed of vaccine development, side effects, efficacy and new variants will be answered with the latest scientific information.

“In an age where most people get their information at a distance, we wanted to find a way to connect with people more directly,” said Dan Engel, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Engel and Dean Kedes, MD, PhD, both of UVA’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, are co-chairs of the town hall series, along with Felicia Goodrum, PhD, of the University of Arizona, and Mariano Garcia-Blanco, MD, PhD, of UTMB-Galveston.

Called “COVID-19 Vaccine Education,” the program is sponsored by the American Society for Virology and the American Society of Microbiology, two of the nation’s leading professional organizations in the area of infectious diseases.

The town halls will be hosted by pairs or groups of experts, Each session will run about 45 minutes.

The series kicks off at 8 p.m. with additional events on March 24, 25, 26 and 30. Sessions are slated to continue throughout the spring and summer.

On March 30, a town hall will be hosted by Engel and UVA Health’s Ebony Hilton, MD, who volunteered to receive the first vaccine at UVA to demonstrate it was safe and effective. She documented her experiences with the vaccine on social media.

Keep up with the latest dates in the town hall series, and register to attend, by visiting (All .the events are free, but registration is required; maximum capacity for each town hall is 300 people.)

See a brief video about the events at:
To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog at

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