J Korean Med Sci.  2021 Feb;36(6):e54. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e54.

What We Do Know and Do Not Yet Know about COVID-19 Vaccines as of the Beginning of the Year 2021

  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Bucheon St. Mary's Hospital, Bucheon, Korea
  • 2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which started at the end of 2019 and has spread worldwide, has remained unabated in 2021. Since non-pharmaceutical interventions including social distancing are facing limitations in controlling COVID-19, additional absolute means to change the trend are necessary. To this end, coronavirus-specific antiviral drugs and vaccines are urgently needed, but for now, the priority is to promote herd immunity through extensive nationwide vaccination campaign. In addition to the vaccines based on the conventional technology such inactivated or killed virus or protein subunit vaccines, several vaccines on the new technological platforms, for example, nucleic acids-based vaccines delivered by viral carriers, nanoparticles, or plasmids as a medium were introduced in this pandemic. In addition to achieving sufficient herd immunity with vaccination, the development of antiviral treatments that work specifically against COVID-19 will also be necessary to terminate the epidemic completely.


COVID-19; Vaccine; Herd Immunity
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