LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Even though people get flu shots, we still have a flu season every year. Will that be the case for the coronavirus even after a vaccine is readily available? That's a question someone asked UofL School of Medicine Vice Dean for Research Dr. Jon Klein during a recent question and answer session with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

What You Need To Know

  • Questions are being raised about whether the coronavirus will be an annual problem like the common flu

  • Due to slower mutation, a coronavirus vaccine could be more effective than flu shots

  • Coronavirus will likely be quickly contained with a vaccine, local experts say

  • First batches of vaccines are expected to be distributed in mid-December

Dr. Klein said a full eradication of the disease is unlikely, but he does think a coronavirus vaccine will be more effective than other illnesses, like the flu.

"We have a much better chance of containing this. Will we wipe it out? Probably not," Dr. Klein said.

Dr. Klein said the flu mutates rapidly, making it hard to combat.

“Flu virus is changing rapidly all the time. You could say it is mutating rapidly. What that means is this year’s vaccine may work for this year. We pick by guessing, but it won’t work almost certainly for next year. That is why flu is so hard and that is why every year we have flu and the flu will be with us probably forever,” Dr. Klein said.

Dr. Klein said the silver lining is that the coronavirus is not showing the same rate of mutation. 

“The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has been mutating slowly. There is really only one very significant mutation that has occurred and it has not affected the ability of the vaccines to stimulate effective antibodies,” Dr. Klein said.

With that knowledge, Dr. Klein said the chance to control it and contain it with a vaccine is much greater. 

"Let's all hope it continues to do that," Dr. Klein said.