UCI Forward

UCI Forward is our commitment to the well-being of our community as we ramp up campus operations. Working together, each of us doing our part, we can move UCI Forward.

Aug. 24 - Will we need new vaccines for the variants?

Section 1

UCI science library

The sky reflects in the windows of the science library. Photo by Steve Zylius

Q&A Ask the Expert header

Each day, a UCI expert will answer one of your questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.

Today’s question is fielded by Philip Felgner, professor in residence of physiology and biophysics, and director of UCI’s Vaccine Research and Development Center. Professor Felgner will answer another question tomorrow about whether immunity from mRNA vaccines declines over time.

Is it likely we will need a new vaccine for the upcoming variants, or will the current vaccine suffice?

Nearly all research indicates that the current vaccines are sufficient in protecting us from the known variants. The alpha, beta and delta SARS-CoV-2 variants differ in the amino acid sequences of their receptor binding domains (RBD). We checked and found that the mRNA vaccines induce antibodies that bind just as well to all of the different RBD variants. The increase in delta virus case numbers is associated with an increase in virus levels that are shed from delta virus-infected people, and close contacts experience a higher level of virus exposure compared to earlier strains. The original mRNA vaccines protect against severe disease requiring hospitalization; people experience cold symptoms and recover at home.


UCI expert outlines seven reasons to get vaccinated

America is in the first of four virus surges that will hit over the next few months, according to Dr. Susan Huang, who discusses “Seven reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine now.” Huang is UCI Health’s medical director of epidemiology and infectious prevention.

Korean studies center wins $1.1 million in grants

UCI’s Center for Critical Korean Studies has received two prestigious grants that will fund research, graduate student fellowships, a new faculty position and other programs.


Employers’ COVID vaccine mandates likely to gain traction, surveys show

Regulators have fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and companies are taking the opportunity to impose vaccine mandates for employees. Bloomberg reports (via the Los Angeles Times) that employees increasingly support more stringent vaccine requirements.

UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., reflects on extraordinary year

In a video address earlier this month, President Drake marked his first year in office — with all the triumphs and challenges — and shared his optimism for the future of such a resilient community.


The Black Panther Oakland Community School: Community Archives, Activism, and Storytelling
Thursday at noon (sponsored by UCI Humanities Center)

Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.


California Supreme Court Swiftly Denies OC Board of Education School Mask Mandate Petition

Voice of OC, Aug. 19
Cited: Dr. Coleen Cunningham, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and senior vice president and pediatrician-in-chief for CHOC Children's

Landmark FDA approval could turbocharge COVID-19 vaccinations in California

Los Angeles Times, Aug. 24
Cited: Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s professor of law at UC Irvine and the director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy

257: “Price gouging” in emergencies (Raymond Niles and Amihai Glazer)

Rationally Speaking Podcast, Aug. 18
Guest: Amihai Glazer, professor of economics


No new campus cases

No on-campus employees and no on-campus students tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.

Remember to upload your vaccine record

Vaccination is a critical step toward our campus's fall return. Help our community by uploading your vaccine record.

Student Record Upload

Employee Upload Record

Potential workplace exposure

UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.

For COVID-19 questions

UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates

UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health

UCI Health COVID-19 FAQs

UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at covid19@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-9918

Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at contacttracing@uci.edu or via phone at (949) 824-2300

Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19

For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.