Thaddeus Swanek Thaddeus Swanek
Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


May 21, 2021


This week’s Path Forward event featured Ask Me Anything sessions with public health experts on vaccines and contact tracing.

The Path Forward, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event series, helps business and community leaders find the answers they need to execute a responsible reopening strategy for a post-pandemic world.

What Happened?
Leading off the discussion was Dr. Emily Gurley, associate scientist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Gurley focused on contact tracing and how it could be used to monitor the prevalence of COVID and alert health professionals to changes in the emergence of new variants.

The next day, Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña, director of global health at Northwell Health, took up the topic of vaccines, discussing their efficacy, rollout status, and whether those who have had COVID should still get the vaccine.

What the Experts Are Saying:

“Contact tracing is one of the most important ways we have to prevent transmission, outside of vaccines.” – Dr. Emily Gurley, associate scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“We have emerging variants of concern…Through contact tracing data, we can track what’s happening with outbreaks and the spread, so that we can tailor public health programs appropriately.” – Dr. Emily Gurley.

“The goal of contact tracing is to find folks and then ask them who they had contact with…It’s about trying to identify who the contacts were, so that they can be notified of their exposure. That’s a common courtesy, so that someone can be sure that they themselves don’t go on to infect someone else.” – Dr. Emily Gurley.

“There is no evidence to date that the [COVID] vaccine type—or that vaccines in general—cause any developmental problems in children. Vaccines are safe…I have no reservations at all about vaccinating my children.” – Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña, director of global health, Northwell Health.

“We’re doing very well…I know the federal government has a goal of having 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4, 2021 and it looks like they’re on track to reach that goal.” – Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña.

“The immunity that’s generated from getting infected with COVID is not the same, or as good as, the immunity generated by the vaccine…The vaccine provides much better immunity than getting infected with COVID, so it’s very important to get vaccinated even if you already had COVID.” – Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña.

What You Can Do:
Please consider joining the Rally for Recovery Commitment, a U.S. Chamber-led program encouraging every company and organization to take three basic, but important, steps to get the country back to health and American workers back to work.

Up Next:
Please join future Path Forward events to learn how to better protect you workers, customers, coworkers, and friends from the spread of coronavirus.

Additional Resources:

About the authors

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus is a senior writer and editor with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's strategic communications team.

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