City’s Chief Medical Officer Provides Insight on Vaccine’s Impact at Forum
Dr. David Persse kicks off UHD's COVID-19 Speaker Series
By Mark Kramer
The University of Houston-Downtown kicked off its COVID-19 Health, Safety and Vaccine Forums as the city’s top medical officer addressed the UHD Community during the first of three virtual events on April 8.
Dr. David Persse, Chief Medical Officer for the City of Houston and Professor of Emergency Medicine and Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, provided an update of the impact of COVID-19 vaccines and the important role they play in combatting the pandemic.
The event was hosted by UHD President Loren J. Blanchard and moderated by Vice President of Advancement and University Relations Johanna Wolfe.
Blanchard asked Persse about the expansion of COVID-19 vaccines throughout the region and how they are impacting the spread of the virus.
“Since the vaccines have become more and more available, our numbers of cases in the region are continuing to go down, Persse said. “We are also seeing the number of persons being hospitalized starting to decrease as well.”
Persse also noted that Messenger RNA vaccine (mRNA) technology greatly evolved in the past 10 years and has resulted in the increased production of vaccines to offered to the public.
“The mRNA technology is not so new,” he said. “Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in laboratories using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.”
Persse said that educating the public on the importance of receiving the vaccines is the key in continuing to steadily decrease numbers of COVID cases.
“We must give people the facts about the vaccines and the disease,” he said. “It is important to provide the community with factual information regarding COVID-19 and the vaccines so that they can make informed and educated decisions.”
In addition, Persse stressed that the community should continue to follow safety protocols such as wearing facemasks and social distancing are essential when in public.
“We’ll continue to do our part to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” President Blanchard said.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.