Vaccines & Immunity: It Takes a Community - A Seattle CAB Field Trip


By: Kim Louis, Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit CRS, Seattle, WA, USA

Photos of Dr. Larry Corey (upper right), PI of the HVTN and Dr. Julie McElrath (lower right), PI of the HVTN Lab Program were included in the exhibit.
Photos of Dr. Larry Corey (upper right), PI of the HVTN and Dr. Julie McElrath (lower right), PI of the HVTN Lab Program were included in the exhibit. Click for high-res version

Have you ever wondered how that flu shot works? We did!

The Seattle HVTU Community Advisory Board took a special field trip to the Pacific Science Center (PSC) to learn more about how vaccines work. The CAB met with PSC exhibit staff to learn about their experience with the public in creating this educational display. As it turns out, they talked to naysayers, heard about conspiracies, and spoke to folks who are uninformed of the science behind vaccines. The similarities of their interactions and ours in our work are uncanny. Have you ever been told the _______(fill in the blank) vaccine causes ________ (fill in the blank)? 
That childhood vaccines cause autism? They have heard it and so have we!

After sharing common experiences between the PSC staff and our CAB, we visited the interactive exhibit about vaccines. We learned about herd immunity, HPV vaccines, why vaccines are important and who made some important discoveries. We played a Chickenpox video game and even learned more about vaccine innovators in Seattle—and yes, HVTN was listed! In fact, it was great to see our site’s own Principal Investigator Julie McElrath, MD highlighted, as well as the HVTN Principal Investigator Larry Corey, who was also an advisor on the exhibit.

Felicia from the Pacific Science Center (left) explains the herd immunity display.
Felicia from the Pacific Science Center (left) explains the herd immunity display. Click for high-res version
Another exhibit describing how vaccines prevent disease!
Another exhibit describing how vaccines prevent disease! Click for high-res version

After having some great conversations on how our research relates to other existing vaccines, we furthered our education with a special talk from Gail Broder from the HVTN Community Engagement Unit. Gail spoke about specific strategies we are trying in our HIV vaccine work in her usual engaging style.  We then wrapped up our time with an update on the specific protocols the Seattle site is conducting and matched them up to the strategies we had just reviewed.

CAB members discuss the display on “Getting the right vaccines at the right time”
CAB members discuss the display on “Getting the right vaccines at the right time” Click for high-res version

It was a fun day with members new and old as well as our new friends at the Pacific Science Center.

Another exhibit describing how vaccines prevent disease!
Another exhibit describing how vaccines prevent disease! Click for high-res version
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the home of HVTN Core, was featured.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the home of HVTN Core, was featured. Click for high-res version

Kim Louis is the Community Outreach Manager at the Seattle HIV Vaccine Trials Unit CRS, Seattle, WA, USA.