From equality to global poverty: how Covid-19 is affecting societies and economies

The Covid-19 pandemic is a social and an economic crisis just as much as it is a health crisis – its repercussions, severe and far-reaching, are being felt across the world.

  • 30 September 2020
  • 4 min read
  • by Wellcome
From equality to global poverty: how Covid-19 is affecting societies and economies
From equality to global poverty: how Covid-19 is affecting societies and economies


From school closures, to devasted industries and millions of jobs lost – the social and economic costs of the pandemic are measured in many ways. Covid-19 is threatening to widen inequalities everywhere, and undermine progress on global poverty and clean energy, among others.

The solutions are tests, treatments and vaccines – which will cost only a fraction of the huge economic loss the pandemic is causing every week.

The pandemic impacts all aspects of society

To slow the spread of the virus, schools closed, leaving more than one billion students out of school. Millions of girls might not be going back – putting them at risk of adolescent pregnancy, child marriage and violence.

Chart showing Covid-19 effects on education, climate and poverty.

Businesses closed too, leading to the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs lost in terms of working hours. Among the worst hit are the 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy, and young people, women and persons with disabilities.

Women have been disproportionately more affected by the pandemic because they are a large proportion of the workers in sectors severely affected by Covid-19, including accommodation and food services, and in front-line occupations, such as the health and social care sectors. With the closures of schools, they have also had to take on more care responsibilities at home.

Whether through the loss of jobs or school closures, the pandemic threatens to undo decades of progress in gender equality.

Covid-19 is slowing down progress on clean energy too, curbing investments and delaying the expansion of clean energy technologies. While there has been some positive climate news – global CO2 emissions are expected to fall by 6% in 2020, to their lowest level since 2010 – that’s only a short-term effect of lockdowns, not a sustained change.   

"No epidemic is ever just a health issue in isolation, and Covid-19 has emphasised this on the global stage. We need to be looking at it in terms of an economic issue, a livelihood issue, a social issue and a political issue too."

Juliet Bedford, Anthrologica

It’s setting us back on decades of progress in tackling global poverty

The pandemic will likely trigger the biggest recession since World War II, causing a financial loss twice as great as during the 2008 recession. That’s a staggering $12 trillion over 2020 and 2021.

Chart showing percent change in number of people below the poverty line of $1.90 for the last three years..

The effects are felt unevenly across societies.

While no economy is left untouched, lower- and middle-income countries are worst affected because they have weak defences against economic shocks and tend to depend more on a few sectors, such as commodities and tourism. 

Millions of people have already fallen below the poverty line. In just a few months of Covid-19, extreme poverty has gone up for the first time in 20 years.

Although developed countries have had the means to intervene early to protect people and businesses – through emergency stimulus and social protection packages – those measures are not sustainable long-term.

Even as most countries have reopened, many sectors, including tourism, travel and hospitality, remain weakened. And with the uncertainty of how the pandemic will evolve, in the absence of vaccines and treatments, the recovery is likely to be uncertain too.

"Until we get the virus defeated everywhere, the world economy will not return to normal."

Erik Berglof, London School of Economics

The investment needed is only a fraction of what the world is losing due to Covid-19

Without tangible solutions to stop the virus from spreading and treat those who fall ill, the pandemic will continue to steal lives and livelihoods.

The greatest investment we could make now is in the research, development and fair distribution of tests, vaccines and treatments.

Chart showing revenue losses of travel and tourism over 2020-2021.

The good news is that the investment needed – $35 billion, as estimated by the ACT-Accelerator – would be paid back in 36 hours once international mobility and trade are restored.

Chart showing the size of the stimulus packages unlocked by ten G20 countries.

This investment is less than 1% of what G20 countries have spent on stimulus packages to support businesses and national economies, which is estimated at $10 trillion.

It’s an investment that relies on countries and international organisations showing leadership, pooling resources together and acknowledging that this crisis can only be overcome if we act together.

"Securing this funding now will prove to be the wisest investment humanity has ever made."

Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome

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Sickness and survival in pre-COVID-19 Nepal

A gripping documentary about a family's struggle with the emotional and financial consequences of severe pneumonia.

Nose sprays, needle-free patches, durable immunity: towards the next generation of COVID vaccines

The development of COVID vaccines has already been explosive. There are more innovations on the way.

White-tailed deer found to be huge reservoir of coronavirus infection

In a sample of white-tailed deer, 80% were found to have an active COVID infection.

Q&A: Dr Collins Tabu, Kenya’s immunisation chief, discusses the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

Dr Collins Tabu, Head of Kenya's National Vaccines and Immunisation Program, is on a mission to vaccinate at least half of the adult population against COVID-19 by the end of the year. #VaccinesWork spoke to him to see how they plan to do it.

HPV vaccine cuts cervical cancer cases by nearly 90%

Real world data from the UK shows the value of vaccinating girls against human papilloma virus (HPV) when they are 12 to 13 years of age.

COVID-19 vaccines: from rejection to shortage, how Côte d’Ivoire became a model for managing vaccine hesitancy

In February 2021, Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts to vaccinate its population in order to save lives and stem the spread of the coronavirus were being stymied by a wave of misinformation and a low level of public acceptance of the vaccine.

Vaccine rollout steps up a gear in Sierra Leone

Just 5.5% of Sierra Leoneans have had their first COVID-19 vaccination. With a target to reach at least 80% by December the campaign, with support from COVAX, is ramping up.

“Whenever I get a pain in my side, it is always accompanied by this anxiety”: How it feels to live with chronic hepatitis B

Dr Thomas Tu has an intimate relationship with the virus he’s devoted his life to studying, having been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B at the age of 14. He discusses the stigma associated with the disease and the future of treating it.

Five crucial years, one unprecedented new pandemic and 324 million children immunised

Even with the adversities and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic through 2020, Gavi maintained unyielding focus on leaving no one behind.

COVID-19 vaccinations help restore family links in Kenya’s prisons

Inmates in Kenya’s prison system have been banned from seeing family members for over a year and a half. A vaccination campaign.

Vaccine profiles: Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B kills more people each year than AIDS-related illnesses, yet an effective vaccine exists. Ensuring every child has access to it is crucial to fighting back.

Vaccine profiles: Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Before immunisation for Hib became routine, it was one of the biggest killers of children under five and the main cause of meningitis. High vaccine coverage is essential to keep that threat at bay, especially given rising antimicrobial resistance…

Protecting prisoners in Malawi

Malawi prisoners are at higher risk of getting COVID 19; vaccines are helping to contain the spread.

COVID could wreak havoc on gorillas, but they social distance better than we do

Endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s famous Volcanoes National Park could face “population collapse” within 50 years if some of them contract COVID-19, new research suggests.

COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the Kenyan entertainment industry

While there are those who have thrived, for most entertainers in Kenya COVID-19 came close to decimating the sector.

Q&A: Designing a shock-proof health system

How do we ensure resilient health systems and immunisation programmes that can bounce back from future health threats? In this Q&A with Gustavo Correa, Gavi’s Senior Manager for Data systems and Information, and Josh Wunderlich, Gavi…

Doctors, scientists or politicians: who are you most likely to trust after the pandemic?

Doctors are rated as trustworthy by almost two-thirds of people, according to the Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Index 2021. Scientists came in second, at 61% and teachers third, at 55%. How to restore trust is a key and growing theme for…

Without global vaccination, all COVID immunity is at risk

A year from now, instead of potentially entering the pandemic endgame, we could find ourselves at the start of a new and perpetual cycle of revaccination or boosters for people who have already previously been protected.

The Test of Pandemic Preparedness

The COVID-19 pandemic is the product of a globalized, interconnected world. Without new mechanisms that offer truly global approaches to crisis management and prevention, the experience of the past 18 months is likely to be repeated, with…

Health is a political choice

COVAX can make even more of a difference if governments stop hoarding vaccine doses and allow the free flow of these crucial supplies.

No one is safe until everyone is safe

To end the pandemic, the virus needs to be stamped out simultaneously across the world, but government hoarding and export restrictions are getting in the way of making this happen.

What COVID-19 is teaching us about human milk and antibodies

Dr Rebecca Powell is on a quest to understand the immune response to infection and vaccination in breastmilk, in the hope of designing maternal vaccines to boost babies’ protection against disease.

The walls speak for the vulnerable in Luanda

Oksanna Dias has been using street art to draw attention to the challenges of the women of Luanda.

Injectable rotavirus vaccines – what value could they bring?

Currently in advanced development, these next-generation rotavirus vaccines may address key barriers to vaccine uptake and access.

Vaccine profiles: Tetanus

The disease can kill one in five people infected, yet an effective vaccine exists. Routine tetanus immunisation saves the lives of thousands of newborns every year.

Religious leaders join chorus of support for vaccination in Nigeria

Initially silent, respected religious leaders in Nigeria are beginning to make their voices heard in support of COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine Ambassadors: The race to vaccinate Cameroon’s school communities

Cameroon is considering taking COVID-19 vaccines to schools amid a rise in the number of new cases.

Towards universal coverage of maternal health services in Tajikistan

Nozanin is a secondary school teacher and lives in the relatively prosperous region of Sughd, with better access to maternal health services than is found in other regions. However, medical costs are excessive for most people in the country,…

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for teenagers and children?

Some countries are already offering COVID-19 vaccines to teenagers and may expand this to children in the near future. Here’s what we know about vaccine safety and efficacy in these groups.

COVID: how worried should we be about the new AY.4.2 lineage of the coronavirus?

This new sub-variant of the delta has gained a foothold in the UK.

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines and rare neurological complications

Reports of Guillain–Barré syndrome or other neurological complications following COVID-19 vaccination are understandably worrying, but the first study to robustly investigate such links has found that the risk is much greater after COVID-19…

Vaccine profiles: Pertussis

Before immunisation for pertussis, or whooping cough, became routine, it killed twice as many children as measles and polio combined. High vaccine coverage is essential to keep that threat at bay.

Togo becomes one of the first African countries to introduce digital vaccine passports

Togo is blazing a digital trail on the continent, looking to online tools, including digital vaccine passports, to curtail COVID-19.

Women Leaders in Polio Eradication: Dr. Folake Olayinka

Dr. Folake Olayinka speaks about overcoming gender-related barriers to immunization.

“A moment of immense pride and joy”: Anuradha Gupta’s eight reflections on India’s billionth COVID-19 vaccine dose

As India celebrated its one-billionth COVID-19 vaccination, #VaccinesWork caught up with Anuradha Gupta, Gavi’s Deputy CEO and an Indian public health veteran.

Combining COVID-19 and routine vaccination: Nigeria implements a “whole family” approach

The whole family approach is helping Lagos State tackle multiple disease outbreaks and helping families lead healthier lives.

A million a day: Pakistan’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign hits its stride

After a halting start to its immunisation campaign, Pakistan has shifted into high gear, now administering a million doses a day. #VaccinesWork spoke to national health leaders and spent a morning at a rural vaccination centre to find out what…

Is it a cold or COVID-19? An expert explains

Research in the UK shows COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to the common cold. So, how can you tell the difference? Here, genetic epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector explains the latest data and what you need to know.

Bringing routine immunisation back into focus in Ghana

Community health nurses in Ghana are on a mission to reverse the decline in routine immunisation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccine profiles: Diphtheria

Before immunisation for diphtheria became routine, it was a major killer of children and adults worldwide. High vaccine coverage is essential to keep that threat at bay.

COVID and flu: how big could the dual threat be this winter?

Social distancing has shielded us from other respiratory viruses – but that's not necessarily a good thing.

Five reasons why ‘my body, my choice’ doesn’t work for vaccines

With several countries making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health workers, teachers and other frontline staff, anti-vaccination protesters have co-opted the feminist slogan “my body, my choice” from reproductive rights and bodily autonomy…

Vaccines save Eswatini’s education system

The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines has brought hope for the country’s education system.

Convincing nomadic populations to get the jab in Northern Kenya

For the Gosha community, vaccines are not only protecting them from COVID-19, but are also bringing development to their area.

Ten climate actions that could boost human health

Ahead of the COP26 climate summit, the World Health Organisation flags ten priority actions necessary to protect human and planetary health.

Pandemica, a world where the pandemic goes on forever

Welcome to Pandemica, a world where twice as many people die and life as we once knew it does not return for anyone.

Delivering COVAX supplies during a supply chain crisis, the HOPE Consortium steps up support to UNICEF

First flight facilitated by the Hope Consortium touches down in Belgium with large delivery of ultra-cold chain freezers for onward shipment to 21 African countries.

”We understand how important their work is to our health”: Ordinary Nigerians unite with health workers against COVID-19

In the face of mounting logistical hitches, ordinary Nigerians are rallying behind health workers to ensure the success of COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the country.

Why we still need vaccines even if we get new COVID-19 treatments

The pharma company Merck has applied for emergency use authorisation for an experimental COVID-19 antiviral treatment but, even if approved, such therapies won’t replace vaccines.

If you’ve had COVID-19, one dose of vaccine may be as good as two: what could this mean for the global vaccination effort?

Identifying people who have recovered from COVID-19 could provide a way to accelerate protection of populations against the disease.

Without women there are no healthcare systems

The sixth annual Heroines of Health Gala celebrated seven women fighting to improve the health of their communities. From mobilising nurses in Beirut after the blast in August last year to helping communities in Ethiopia affected by the civil…

COVID: why are people testing positive on lateral flow tests then negative on PCR?

The reasons for these results have yet to be confirmed – but maths may explain the phenomenon.

No vaccine, no entry

The sports and entertainment communities of Eswatini are banking on COVID-19 vaccines to turn their fortunes around.

Review: Preventing The Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-Science

Dr Peter J. Hotez’ timely and important book underlines the fact that we need vaccine diplomacy now more than ever to overcome threats to our health.

Mobilising mothers around immunisation in Nigeria

Going door-to-door, local community leaders are mobilising mothers to have their children immunised.

How COVID-19 is contributing to period poverty in Nigeria

Skyrocketing prices for sanitary products, supply shortages and lockdowns are combining to make it harder and harder for girls and women in Nigeria to manage their periods.

Breakthrough malaria vaccine offers to reinvigorate the fight against the disease

The WHO and the manufacturers of the vaccine will be rallying countries, particularly those with high malaria burdens, to adopt the vaccine.

Drought may affect routine immunisation in Africa, study finds

Climate change is set to transform global health. A new study has found that droughts – one product of extreme weather exacerbated by climate change – may already be impacting rates of vaccination.

Can Kenya eliminate malaria?

Kenya is aiming to eliminate malaria entirely by 2030, with the world’s first malaria vaccine forming an important tool in its arsenal. The country’s youth is playing an important role.

First ever malaria vaccine recommended by WHO: Q&A with Deepali Patel

The WHO recommendation on the RTS,S vaccine could protect millions of children across Africa.

Nobel Prize: how chili peppers helped researchers uncover how humans feel pain

These discoveries could help us treat a variety of conditions in the future – including chronic pain.

How will vaccinating camels boost uptake of COVID-19 vaccines?

Authorities in Kenyan border regions have come up with an innovative way to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations among herder communities: combine it with animal vaccination.

Further vaccine R&D is critical to end the devastating COVID-19 pandemic

It is science that we must once again turn to so that we can remain one step ahead of the virus. Increased investment in ongoing vaccine R&D efforts will enable COVAX to deliver on its promises and ensure that our vaccines remain safe and…

Head of UNAIDS unpacks the knock-on effects of COVID-19. And what needs to be done

Greater urgency is needed in the response to the pandemic, to end AIDS and to end COVID-19.

Super clean: Hand sanitiser helps prevent COVID-19, but what else is it doing to our health?

Hand sanitiser has become a regular feature of our lives since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but how effective is it – and is it a good idea to be so clean?

The COVID-19 vaccine-shy are changing their minds

Vaccine hesitancy is “not a stable trait,” concludes a new American study, which found that a majority of initially hesitant respondents shifted their stance in favour of getting the jab.

What we really know about waning COVID-19 immunity

Vaccines are still extremely effective at preventing severe disease. Waning antibody levels doesn’t always translate to lessening immunity.

How COVID-19-related stress could be affecting your menstrual cycle

A new study suggests that more than half of women may have experienced irregularities in their periods after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Routine immunisation worldwide holds firm despite the pandemic

Despite the havoc wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic on health systems worldwide, governments’ work to bring immunisation programmes back on track is paying off.

COVID-19 vaccines help routine immunisation become routine again in Nigeria

Routine immunisation took a hit in Nigeria thanks to the pandemic. Thanks to the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly for health workers, mothers are returning to immunisation clinics.

Vaccinating domestic dogs reduces rabies in the wild. Why this matters

Domestic dogs have been shown to be the only species necessary to maintain rabies across most of Africa. This means that dog vaccination should control the disease in all species.

More deliveries equals more demand for vaccines in South Sudan

With COVAX stepping up deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines in South Sudan, there is a steady increase in demand for the jab.

Seven COVID-19 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore

Researchers have identified seven symptoms that are highly predictive of a positive COVID-19 test.

COVAX vaccines lead drive to reopen Uganda’s schools

The Ugandan government is on a drive to vaccinate teachers to ensure the reopening of schools across the country.

What the world can learn from Bhutan’s rapid COVID vaccine rollout

Careful planning enabled this small, mountainous Himalayan country to vaccinate 90% of its adult population in three weeks.

There is no vaccine equity without gender equality

On Thursday 23 September, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, global health leaders gathered to discuss gender equality in healthcare worldwide. Here’s what happened.

Kids and COVID-19: what we know so far

Although children are less susceptible to COVID-19 than adults, there are still risks associated with infection.

Whipping the Covid-19 vaccine market into shape

The COVAX vaccine procurement facility has run a remarkable race, but needs stable funding for long-term success.

The pandemic has hurt women's health. This is why that's bad for everyone

The pandemic undermined women and girls’ fundamental rights and we must learn lessons about its impacts to build back better and ensure these groups aren't left behind. Empowering women and girls has proven to increase the health and well-being…

COVID-19 is changing Kenyan nomads’ attitudes towards immunisation

COVID-19 is hitting nomads in Kenya’s Rift Valley hard. They are turning away from traditional medicine and customs as a result.

Five reasons why it’s a terrible idea to hold a COVID-19 party (even if you’ve been vaccinated)

Although people who have recovered from COVID-19 may be less likely to catch it again, there are many reasons to avoid becoming infected in the first place.

Your immune system is as unique as your fingerprint – new study

New discovery could help scientists develop more targeted drugs and vaccines.

Study finds no increased risk of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy

Israeli data adds to mounting evidence that taking a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy is safe.

Community health workers are critical in delivering COVID-19 vaccines

Delivering COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries is only the first step in being able to vaccinate the world and bring this pandemic to an end. It’s essential to get vaccines from tarmacs into the arms of people living in last…

Cholera and the inequitable origins of public health diplomacy

The arrival of cholera on European shores in the 19th Century helped kick off the long path towards modern global health institutions and diplomacy. However, these beginnings were anything but fair.

Lower-income countries are letting far fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses expire than wealthier nations

Just 0.2% of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to lower-income countries through COVAX expired before they could be administered, estimated to be a significantly lower amount than wealthier countries.

Togo leads the way in COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

With support from Gavi, WHO and UNICEF, Togo is introducing various mechanisms to turn the tide of COVID-19.

Three things this week’s Global COVID-19 Summit is aiming to achieve

The White House is calling a virtual COVID-19 Summit on Wednesday, 22 September. Its targets for global vaccination are ambitious and essential as we work together to defeat COVID-19.

The historic push to provide ultra-cold chain freezers around the world

Thomas Sorenson, Senior Manager in the Cold Chain Unit, UNICEF Supply Division, explains the work behind the scenes to roll-out the largest ultra-cold chain deployment in history.

This is the WHO’s massive new list of ways to create a healthier, safer environment

Four UN agencies have compiled a first-of-its-kind Compendium of guidance on health and environment to help policymakers save millions of lives. The Compendium pulls together 500 actions and recommendations on everything from clean water and…

COVID-19 vaccine roll-out gathers pace in Kisumu, Kenya

In Kisumu, which is still recovering from the after-effects of flooding, authorities are working to bring vaccines to the beleaguered residents.

Reaching zero-dose children in Malawi’s cities

In Malawi urban areas have more unimmunised zero-dose children than rural regions. The government is working hard to close the immunisation gap.

Gavi at UNGA: Action for equity

The 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA 76) will take place from 14-30 September 2021. Could we see a breakthrough in the fight for universal vaccine access?

Even a quarter dose of Moderna vaccine triggers strong immune response

Although it’s not clear how this compares to the full dose licensed worldwide for emergency use, a quarter of a dose produces an equivalent immune response to immunity from infection.

Vaccine justice: Nepal gives refugees priority in the vaccine queue

Nepal has distributed more than 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine according to a considered allocation schedule based on humane, inclusive, epidemiological good sense. The country’s future safety depends on the willingness of the rest of the…

Now we know: typhoid conjugate vaccines are highly effective in African children

A study in Malawi found that TCVs are 84% efficacious among children 6 months to 15 years of age – the first such evidence among African children.

We need to stop talking about COVID-19 waves

While vaccines have helped save millions of lives in this pandemic, the ever-evolving virus has spread so far that it may be here to stay.

“We are not resting on our laurels”: COVID-19 survivors encourage vaccination in Nigeria

In Lagos, Nigeria's most populous state, COVID-19 survivors are encouraging more Nigerians to be vaccinated.

Cameroon is dealing with two conflicts amid the pandemic

The war against Boko Haram in Cameroon's northern region and the struggle against armed secessionists in the west have taken a significant toll on vaccine roll-out.

Why India’s latest Nipah case means pandemic preparedness is more vital than ever

With COVID-19 still ongoing, viruses like Nipah are nipping at its heels as the potential next pandemic threat.

How COVID-19 is undermining maternal health and reproductive rights

As the African continent battles a third wave of coronavirus infections, access to reproductive health and rights is an ongoing challenge.

Q&A: Helping teenage mothers access immunisation in Rwanda

The COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly increased the number of teenage mothers across Africa. Inadequate childcare support and stigma can prevent teenage mothers accessing routine immunisation and nutritional support for their infants. Girl Effect…

No scientific basis for COVID-19 vaccine boosters in general populations

Even though many wealthy countries are planning to roll out booster doses, a Lancet review has concluded that the standard COVID-19 vaccination regimen is highly effective, even against the Delta variant.

Kenya accelerates its COVID-19 vaccination programme

Kenya has ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination programme, expanding the list of who can get vaccinated.

COVAX: the forecast for vaccine supply

While the supply is lower than predictions earlier this year, wealthy countries and manufacturers hold the power to improve supply.

You don’t need to worry about COVID vaccines being ‘unnatural’ or ‘synthetic’

mRNA vaccines are the first synthetic vaccines, meaning they are made outside of a living cell. But so are lots of things we consume every day, such as vitamin C pills and other dietary supplements.

Review: Survivors – Hope and Resilience in the Time of Ebola

The Sierra Leonean documentary is a complex portrait of courageous solidarity amid contagion.

Pop culture icons and political satire in Bristol

The British artist John D’oh uses humour and wit to drive home messages about vaccines and other measures such as hand-washing and social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We’re getting closer to a vaccine against Chikungunya

Launch of vaccine trial marks “significant milestone” towards beating this debilitating disease.

Study of 6.2 million Americans shows no significant side effects from COVID-19 RNA vaccines

A study looking at health issues such as stroke or seizures after COVID-19 vaccination showed that vaccines weren’t linked to any significant number of side effects.

COVID-19 vaccination halves the risk of Long COVID

Data from the UK suggests double vaccination lowers the risk of ongoing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as reducing hospitalisations and the severity of the initial illness.

How improved yellow fever diagnostics are transforming management of the disease

Gavi has supported a major expansion in yellow fever diagnostic capacity in Africa over the past three years. The results show just how much improving diagnostics can have a cost-effective yet significant impact on immunisation programmes.

Anand Kumar: From polio to para-sports world champ

More often than not, the road to a meaningful triumph is a bumpy one.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Here’s why.

While most people jumped at the chance to get their COVID-19 vaccine, some have been more hesitant over concerns about safety.  Here we explain all the checks and balances in place to make sure the vaccines are safe.

The G20 Must Recommit to COVAX

Additional G20 support can make the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access facility a success. Failure to achieve equitable access would mean more lives lost, broken health-care systems, even deadlier and more transmissible variants, and a pandemic with…

Protecting a different kind of frontline worker in Liberia

Getting market women and pen-pen drivers vaccinated is critical to tackling COVID-19 in Liberia.

Why helping countries deliver COVID-19 vaccines is just as vital as boosting supply

Getting COVID-19 vaccines out to countries isn’t just about ensuring supply – a major stumbling block can be their ‘absorptive capacity,’ or the ability to deliver the volume of vaccine coming their way. Here, we talk to Alex de Jonquieres,…

COVID-19 boosted excess sale of antibiotics in India

COVID-19 boosted sales of antibiotic formulations used in adults and adolescents in India. Antibiotics should not be prescribed to treat viral diseases. Misuse of antibiotics can result in drug-resistant infections.

Hantavirus study shows restoring forests can reduce zoonotic disease risk

Brazilian scientists have found that transmission of hantavirus, a deadly infection, could be reduced by 45% if Brazil restores its Atlantic Forest to levels mandated by its Native Vegetation Protection Law. Hantavirus, spresd by contact with…

The vaccine taxi: Going mobile in Zimbabwe

Distance and fear of the pandemic has put many parents off from taking their children to health clinics in Zimbabwe. So one converted taxi is taking the clinic to them.

The first human case of Marburg virus in West Africa is no surprise: here’s why

The Marburg virus will be present wherever the Egyptian Rousette bat occurs.

What does the new C.1.2 coronavirus variant mean for COVID-19 vaccines?

A rapidly mutating coronavirus variant called C.1.2 is generating headlines around the world. Here’s what we know about it so far.

Humanitarians Push to Vaccinate in Conflict Zones

Pandemic ceasefires offer an opportunity to expand vaccination efforts, experts say. But negotiation is tricky.

People who have already had COVID-19 could be less likely to catch Delta than the vaccinated

A new study from Israel suggests the risk of a breakthrough infection among vaccinated people was higher than among people who’d previously had COVID-19 but had not been vaccinated. However the greatest benefit came to those who'd previously…

COVID variants: we spoke to the experts designing a single vaccine to defeat them all

A universal vaccine has been described as the ‘holy grail’ – but how close are we to getting one?

Do kids get long COVID? And how often? A paediatrician looks at the data

Children can get long COVID, but it seems to be less common than in adults. And they tend to recover quicker.

More than a quarter of a million infants estimated to have died due to pandemic poverty

More than a quarter of a million infants in low- and middle-income countries are predicted to have died in 2020 due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Poorly ventilated schools are a super-spreader event waiting to happen. It may be as simple as opening windows

With evidence showing the COVID virus is airborne, it's no coincidence many outbreaks in schools have occurred in winter – when windows are closed.

Fighting both COVID-19 and cholera: Health workers, community leaders work around the clock in Nigeria

With COVID-19 stretching the healthcare system in many parts of Nigeria, health workers and community leaders have to go the extra mile to ensure vaccines reach victims of the country’s latest cholera outbreak.

Over a million children get protected against polio in Malawi

Malawi’s Ministry of Health recently conducted a nationwide polio vaccine catch up campaign targeting 1.8 million children who had previously missed out on the vaccine.

Why kids in low-income countries could face a higher risk of dying of COVID-19

Children are increasingly falling sick worldwide, but existing poor health and inadequate access to health care means the most vulnerable kids are most at risk.

Combining seasonal malaria vaccination with chemoprevention can cut malaria deaths in children by 70%

A new study suggests the RTS,S malaria vaccine alone is as effective as preventive antimalarials; together they could save thousands of lives.

In Brazil’s Acre, smoke from fires threatens health, could worsen COVID-19

Wildfire smoke has been linked to higher COVID-19 mortality rates, threatening to compound what is already one of the worst burdens of coronavirus infections and deaths in the world. At particular risk are Indigenous populations, who suffer…

“We don’t want to end back at square one”: Keeping child immunisation alive in Kenya

Kenya’s community workers fight to continue vaccinating children during the pandemic to avoid the reversal of historic gains.

After India’s brutal coronavirus wave, two-thirds of population has been exposed to SARS-CoV2

A public health scholar based in New Delhi explains how India has emerged from the massive spike in COVID-19 cases, even as the country braces for a new wave.

Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates human rights violations?

Experts point to a more fundamental right to be protected from the disease, particularly as it continues to spread primarily among the unvaccinated.

Why I no longer think we can eliminate COVID – public health expert

As New Zealand enters another lockdown after detecting a single COVID case, it's time to consider whether stringent zero COVID strategies are feasible in the long term.

Clothing Against Death

In the absence of good vaccines, doctors treating epidemic diseases must rely on cumbersome PPE as their one safety net. At least modern hazmat suits, unlike the 17th century plague doctor's all-leather outfit, actually work.

How to eliminate cervical cancer - an expert explains

COVID-19 has caused a decline in the delivery of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines that protect girls from cervical cancer. Anuradha Gupta, the Deputy CEO of Gavi, explains what we must do to create more access to these vaccines.

Zimbabwe’s waste pickers waiting impatiently for COVID-19 vaccines

For the waster pickers of Bulawayo, COVID-19 has posed risks to both their health and their incomes. Hope for a vaccine is reaching fever pitch.

How artificial intelligence could help the fight against COVID-19

Using big data and deep learning, machines and systems are offering new ways of responding to a pandemic.

COVID-19 boosters: Would a third jab really stop the pandemic?

Rich countries are now considering giving booster doses to vulnerable individuals, having fully-vaccinated most adults. Is this wise?

Is modern life encouraging the evolution of deadlier viruses?

The way we live can shape the evolution of pathogens, for better or worse.

Vaccines can win the race against COVID-19 variants. Here's how

COVID-19 variants threaten to undermine global vaccine programmes unless we accelerate the pace of delivery and rise to the challenge of global deployment.

Should we tell stories of vaccine sceptics who have died of COVID?

The news is full of stories of people who refused the jab who died of COVID.

Clinics get routine immunisation back on track in Zimbabwe

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic hit routine immunisation hard in Zimbabwe, but thanks to the hard work of local health workers children are now getting the protection they need.

COVID-19: why we can’t use antibody tests to show that vaccines are working

Many COVID-19 antibody tests are not designed to specifically detect antibodies that develop as a result of vaccination, and thus cannot show whether antibodies are of the right quantity or quality for protection against infection or illness.

Vaccines bring hope for children in Nigeria’s largest coastal slum

Access to routine immunisation and primary health care is changing the lives of children in Makoko, Nigeria’s largest coastal slum.

Are chatbots better than humans at fighting vaccine hesitancy?

Could artificial intelligence succeed where people have failed in helping people overcome their fears about vaccines?

Investing in Global Vaccine Equity Acknowledges Our Shared Fate

Vaccines are among modern medicine’s greatest innovations, allowing billions of people to lead healthy lives. But stopping outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease – and not only COVID-19 – depends on achieving critical mass with immunization…

Plagues and classical history – what the humanities will tell us about COVID in years to come

We all need to know about the science of COVID as we battle through pandemic, but the ultimate story will lie in how it changed our society.

TCV is 85% efficacious and urgently needed for Bangladeshi children

New study finds TCV prevents 85% of cases among vaccinated children in Bangladesh, which has one of the highest typhoid burdens in the world.

Nigeria’s new initiative to boost routine immunisation

To improve routine immunisation, Nigeria is implementing the Accelerated Action for Impact (AAI) initiative.

Why are fully-vaccinated people still catching COVID-19?

Breakthrough infections are to be expected, but it doesn’t mean the COVID-19 vaccines aren’t working.

How will COVID vaccines work on compromised immune systems? Here’s what we know

Being immunocompromised appears to affect the vaccine response, but this seems to vary depending on the causes of the person's low immunity.

How bad will climate change be for our health?

The latest IPCC report emphasises the inevitability of some degree of climate change. The human health impact of this should not be ignored.

John Snow and the Pump Handle of Public Health

The narrative of the Broad Street pump is the story of a vital epidemiological discovery; it’s also a story about discovery: it has the tidy, conclusive quality of a fable about science. But in the years after its discovery, John Snow’s theory of…

RSV: what is it, and why are child cases surging in the wake of COVID?

COVID restrictions have prevented the spread of other respiratory viruses too. As these are lifted, the UK government has warned parents of a delayed surge in infections.

That Old Time Anti-Vaxx Feeling

The best single predictor of vaccine uptake per US state is not political affiliation, but the share of the population that believes the human race has always existed. Such findings do not bode well for the global effort to boost vaccination…

If we’re not careful, booster vaccines could end up giving the coronavirus a boost

The sooner we start using booster jabs, the more likely it is that we will need them.

COVID: why you still need to wash your hands

Respiratory viruses, such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2, while spread primarily by respiratory droplets can also be spread by contaminated hands touching the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.

Review: 93 Days

In 2014, Nigeria escaped an Ebola pandemic in the span of 93 days because of the bravery and quick response of health care workers in Lagos. As the world fights through the COVID-19 pandemic, the film 93 Days – though grim – is a hopeful reminder…

Reaching out to communities in rural Zambia

In rural Zambia, clinics and health centres rely on a limited number of medical personnel to run immunisation programmes, which makes the support of community leaders vital.

Review: The Cutter Incident by Paul Offit

Offit’s sobering inquiry into “one of the worst biological disasters in American history” is a work of unflinching investigative journalism which lands, finally, not as a whodunit, but as a tribute to modern systems of meticulous vaccine…

How do experts ensure vaccine safety?

From clinical trials to population surveillance, these are the multilevel mechanisms that ensure vaccine safety – including the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

Intellectual Property and COVID-19 vaccines

During a pandemic supply bottlenecks of essential medical products are almost inevitable, but with COVID-19 this has been further exacerbated by governments hoarding doses and imposing export bans.

Refugees included in Uganda’s COVID-19 vaccine drive

Uganda is setting an example by including its estimated 1.4 million refugees in its COVID-19 vaccine programme, however there are still barriers to overcome.

A Deadly Alliance – War and the Pandemic Influenza of 1918

As World War I reached its climax, a terrible influenza pandemic broke out. By summer 1919, it had claimed many more lives than the conflict – but the conflict, researchers say, helped create the conditions for the devastating spread of the so-…

Kenya’s digital vaccine warriors

The Savannah Innovation Hub teaches young women in Garissa County to counteract COVID-19 vaccine misinformation from groups like Al-Shabaab.

“My heart is always stuck in my homeland”: A Rohingya returnee’s story

Abdullah and his family escaped genocidal violence in Myanmar in 2017, survived a diphtheria epidemic in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar and weathered the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in a Rohingya camp. Then, in December 2020, he returned to the…

“Saving the future of our children”: The women fighting polio in Pakistan

Pakistan is one of two countries where wild poliovirus remains endemic making it essential that the entire country supports the successful implementation of every polio campaign. Women play a critical role, often working at polio’s frontline.

Fighting liver cancer with vaccines in The Gambia

Vaccines against cancer may seem like a futuristic notion, but children around the world are already getting protection against two of the biggest causes of cervical and liver cancer: HPV and hepatitis B.

COVID masks: how and when to ask someone to wear one – without getting into a fight

Just because face coverings aren't mandatory doesn't mean they're not protective – so here's how to ask someone to wear one.

Review: COVID, Quickly – A Scientific American podcast series

This series cuts through the noise to help you catch up with the latest COVID-19 developments in an entertaining and digestible way.

“I will definitely take the vaccine”: High demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Uganda

While there was some initial reluctance to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Eastern Uganda, attitudes are changing fast.

TB prevention has relied on the same vaccine for 100 years. It’s time for innovation

BCG remains the only widely available vaccine for TB. Yet the development of a COVID-19 vaccine over the last year shows that there is capacity to rapidly create new vaccines.

How effective are COVID-19 vaccines in the real-world?

Real-world data is starting shed light on the performance of COVID-19 vaccines in less than perfect conditions.

Q&A: Vaccine – The Human Story

Dr Annie Kelly, writer and host of a new podcast which tells the story of the smallpox vaccine, talks to #VaccinesWork.

Review: The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin

Mnookin’s 2011 investigation of the spread of anti-vax feeling is a pandemic-era must-read.

New vaccination figures underscore urgency to reach the most vulnerable

New data shows the impact COVID-19 is having on routine immunisation programmes worldwide, particularly in lower-income countries. We need action, now, to get routine immunisation programmes back on track and ensure that everyone, everywhere is…

From town criers to local monarchs: encouraging COVID-19 vaccination in Southern Nigeria

Volunteers, including King Dakolo of the Epetiama kingdom, are sensitising and convincing people to accept the COVID-19 vaccine in Bayelsa State, Southern Nigeria.

The Variant Threat Is Real

Rather than translating their own COVID-19 vaccination successes into a renewed global push to end the pandemic, rich countries are becoming complacent while the rest of the world grows increasingly desperate. But the emergence of dangerous new…

Nurses on the COVID-19 frontlines in Sierra Leone

#VaccinesWork spoke to nurse Fatmata Kamara* about how the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Sierra Leone is progressing.

The COVAX No Fault Compensation Programme: Explained

Indemnity and liability was one of the thorniest problems COVAX had to solve to successfully roll out COVID-19 vaccines in lower-income countries. The solution is a world first, which could offer a model for future pandemics.

Willing and waiting: High levels of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance identified in Global South

The widespread acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines in low- to middle-income countries should boost global coronavirus immunity, if distribution issues can be resolved.

Keeping routine immunisation going during Uganda’s second lockdown

Despite a second lockdown, outreach initiatives ensure continuation of Uganda’s routine child immunisation.

Why Africa needs to manufacture its own vaccines

Dr John Nkengasong is a Cameroonian virologist and Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which is working to strengthen the ability of Africa’s public health institutions to detect and respond to disease…

COVID: should you ditch your mask once restrictions are lifted? A philosopher’s view

A philosopher of public health ponders whether taking your mask off on July 19 is like punching someone in the face or like riding a bike.

How Do We Track Vaccinations for People Who Don’t Formally Exist?

Yoshinobu Nagamine, Senior Donor Manager at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, describes the role contactless biometrics can play in accelerating vaccine delivery for those lacking formal identification.

COVID-19: how a sense of community can increase vaccine uptake

If people feel a sense of duty to their local community, they're more likely to protect themselves and others by taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

What can Nigeria do to boost local production of vaccines?

COVID-19 has made local, home-grown production of vaccines a national priority in countries around the world. #VaccinesWork spoke to Professor Martins Emeje at Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to…

We should treat COVID like norovirus – not the flu

Comparisons with flu are unhelpful – these diseases need to be treated differently.

Pen and paper in a digital age: tracking childhood immunisation in Kenya

It may not be high tech, but it works. Kenyan community health volunteers use tracking books to ensure that children receive routine vaccinations.

Will COVID-19 evolve to be more or less deadly?

Some viruses gradually become less virulent over time, but there's no guarantee that SARS-CoV-2 will follow that pattern.

COVID: lambda variant is now in 29 countries, but what evidence do we have that it’s more dangerous?

The lambda variant ripped through Peru and is now spreading globally. But there is little evidence that it is more dangerous than the original variant.

Could a universal coronavirus vaccine soon be a reality?

COVID-19 is unlikely to be the last coronavirus we ever see. Scientists are already trying to make a one-size-fits-all vaccine to stop a future coronavirus epidemic in its tracks.

Could the seasonal flu vaccine help protect against COVID-19?

A large study suggests the influenza vaccine may reduce the risk of some of the worst consequences of COVID-19.

Community Health Workers stop the spread of COVID-19 and polio in Nairobi’s slums

Community health volunteers collaborated with local structures in the slums to help inhabitants survive lockdown and stop the spread of disease.

COVID-19 vaccine boosters: is a third dose really needed?

If immunity is waning or ineffectual against new variants, then boosters could be needed – but there needs to be evidence that they're necessary.

Why Africa’s push to make vaccines should look further than COVID-19

Vaccine manufacturing doesn't come cheap. It depends heavily on support from developed countries. It also takes much more than relaxing intellectual property rights and a desire for vaccine equity.

Are new variants making the COVID-19 virus as deadly as SARS?

Although related to the virus that caused the SARS pandemic in 2003, the COVID-19 virus has never seemed as deadly – until now.

Handwashing ‘impossible’ for one in three amid COVID-19

One in three unable to properly wash hands at home during COVID-19 – WHO-UNICEF. Progress on water, sanitation and hygiene ‘must quadruple’ to meet 2030 target. Investment and prioritisation needed ‘at the highest levels’.

Is COVID-19 effectively already endemic?

Will the pandemic go out with a fizzle or a bang? And what does “living with the virus” actually mean, and when will we get there?

Opinion: Reach 'zero-dose' children to build back better

We must seize this opportunity to shape our COVID-19 response as a chance to achieve better equity and social justice. What better way to do that than to focus on zero-dose children?

COVID variants: could dangerous new ones evolve in pets and farm animals?

Early results from several studies have found that pets can pick up COVID-19 from their owner – but they are unlikely to be dangerous as a result.

Five ways to mitigate India’s third COVID-19 wave

India’s second wave of COVID-19 has devastated the country through a perfect storm of new variants, low vaccination uptake and a shortage of medical equipment and supplies. Here’s what we need to understand about the ongoing second wave to…

India’s “Covaxin” vaccine shows high efficacy against COVID-19 infections in phase 3 trial

A vaccine that had previously been authorised by the Indian government ahead of phase 3 trials now show promising results. This could add to the global armoury of vaccines against COVID-19.

Africa ‘tech hub’ aims to fill COVID-19 vaccine gap

New mRNA tech transfer hub to be established in South Africa. Facility will provide training and licences for vaccine development. Less than one per cent in Africa have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Unlocking Girls’ Potential Through Technology

The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, not least those disadvantaging women and girls in low- and middle-income countries. Fortunately, with today’s digital technologies, those providing health information and services for girls…

Kenyans use their polio fighting network to tackle COVID-19

A rich network of community volunteers in Nairobi are putting skills they developed during anti-polio activities to work tackling COVID-19, and mobilising slum dwellers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

False negative: How long does it take for coronavirus to become detectable by PCR?

It takes time for coronavirus to become established in the body, so a negative test doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t test positive later on.

Why vaccines need solar power

The power sources used to keep vaccines cold used to be polluting and unreliable. We spoke to Alex de Jonquieres, Gavi’s Director of Health Systems and Immunisation Strengthening about how Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, became investors in solar…

How Can I Spot A Fake COVID-19 Vaccine?

Fake COVID-19 vaccines erode public trust in much-needed jabs and encourage vaccine hesitancy.

The Iron Lung

Before 1955, when a vaccine first made polio a preventable illness, the paralysing disease had to be treated. For many, the best option was the iron lung, a device that came to symbolise an era of anxiety in mid-20th century America.

Why sharing bioimaging tech is crucial to global health

New bioimaging technologies are pushing the boundaries of medicine. But poorer nations risk losing out on these advances. Investment in facilities and training globally is crucial to bridge the divide.

Are men and obese people really at greater risk of dying from COVID-19?

A reanalysis of 58 existing studies suggests that with COVID-19 being male or seriously overweight isn’t as risky as originally thought.

How vaccines "demolished the wall" COVID-19 built between Nigerians and their loved ones

Separated for weeks and months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the arrival of vaccines is allowing people to physically reconnect with friends and family.

How to Prevent the Next Pandemic

We need to make the development and distribution of vaccines a truly global endeavor.

There’s now a Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 – what does this mean?

The Delta variant that has caused devastation in countries like India and the UK has now mutated to produce another variant called Delta Plus. Should we be worried?

Guinea declares Ebola epidemic over

Guinea declares end of Ebola outbreak after 42 days without new cases. Outbreak resulted in 23 likely cases, 12 deaths since February. Success attributed to community buy-in, capacity building and vaccination.

Could a rapid neutralising antibody test free up doses of COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries?

By identifying people with high levels of neutralising antibodies after a first vaccine dose, rapid tests could potentially identify those who don’t need a booster dose.

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis in teens

This rare side-effect from the two RNA vaccines being rolled out might be concerning but the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

COVID-19 vaccines: why it’s important you get your second dose

Two doses have always been more protective than one, but the Delta variant has made the benefit of the second dose much greater.

A roadmap to recovery

The Immunization Agenda 2030’s new scorecard visualizes a journey toward pandemic recovery and global immunization progress.

I’m fully vaccinated but feel sick – should I get tested for COVID-19?

Vaccinated people can still get infected with the coronavirus. So if you have symptoms of COVID-19, getting tested can protect others and help health officials keep an eye on the virus.

“My world became smaller”: How COVID-19 vaccines are fighting stigmatisation in Nigeria

Forced to suffer in silence after contracting COVID-19, the arrival of vaccines is helping many Nigerians with a history of the virus overcome stigma and get their lives back on track.

Despite the pandemic, Kenya rolls out measles-rubella vaccinations

Beginning today, Kenya’s Ministry of Health is beginning a major new measles-rubella vaccination campaign to defend against outbreaks.

Tackling Malawi’s fears of routine immunisation: “Children should still be immunised amid the pandemic”

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected turn out for almost all Malawi’s health services, including routine immunisation. One local CSO is using Community Mother Care groups to trace those missing out on vaccines, helping to ensure children are…

How the pandemic is fuelling antimicrobial resistance

For years, a growing number of infections that are resistant to antimicrobials has offered us a grim glimpse into a future with increasingly untreatable diseases. Now, COVID-19 has made antimicrobial resistance so much worse.

New systems map can help overcome difficulties in vaccinating hard-to-reach communities

A major obstacle for COVID-19 vaccination programs to achieve higher and more equitable vaccine coverage throughout the world is vaccinating hard-to-reach communities.

What does COVAX’s latest supply forecast tell us?

The forecast is encouraging given the supply disruptions COVAX and countries with bilateral deals are currently experiencing, and the general challenges manufacturers are experiencing as they ramp up supply at historic speed and scale.

Could lifting COVID-19 restrictions trigger a surge in other common infections?

Masks, hand washing and physical distancing don’t only reduce the transmission of coronavirus. So, what will happen when we do away with these measures?

We archived 84 million tweets to learn about the pandemic – each one is a tiny historical document

During the pandemic, researchers have treated Twitter as a sprawling and evolving historical document.

What happens when COVID-19 collides with HIV infection?

Mounting evidence suggests people living with HIV may be at greater risk of dying from COVID-19. The good news is that COVID-19 vaccines appear to be safe and effective in people with HIV.

Giving 110%: Eswatini’s early rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

Eswatini received its first batch of 32 000 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in late March. 12 000 came through the COVAX facility and 20,000 through a donation from the Indian Government.

How vaccines turbo-charge any existing immunity against COVID-19

A previous infection does give you some immunity against COVID-19, but a new study suggests that vaccination gives your body a massive boost – including against variants of concern.

Q&A with Sterling and Seth: Spotlight on COVAX

What do the CEO of the Vaccine Alliance and the star of a hit US TV show have in common? They both want to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccines and COVAX’s role in getting the world vaccinated.

The tragedy of Typhoid Mary

Mary Mallon was branded a public menace and incarcerated after typhoid outbreaks across New York City were linked to her presence in the kitchen. Was she unfairly demonised?

Five Good Reasons to Go Give One

Wondering what you can do to help end the acute phase of the pandemic? Go Give One – is giving everyone everywhere a chance to play their part.

Why we support COVAX: Mastercard

Mastercard, a long-standing partner of Gavi, recently committed US$ 28 million to the Gavi COVAX AMC, to ensure vaccines are accessible to those that needed them the most, no matter where they live. Vaccines Work spoke to Michael Froman to learn…

Seven ways in which COVID-19 could change the way we fight infectious diseases

The pandemic turned our normal ways of working upside down, but there are several ways in which the new normal could bring improvements in the way we fight disease.

Lifesaving but unaffordable: pros and cons of the newest COVID-19 treatment

Antibody therapy reduces COVID-19 fatalities by a fifth, but remains inaccessible to many countries.

Needle phobia could be the cause of 10% of COVID vaccine hesitancy in the UK – new research

People who are afraid of needles are twice as likely to be vaccine hesitant, new research shows.

Why we still need R&D into COVID-19 vaccines

There are now 17 COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use, but as the virus continues to evolve, here is why we can’t pull the plug on research into new vaccines and therapeutics.

How COVID-19 will damage the lives of African children for decades to come

Although the coronavirus doesn’t cause disease and death in children as much as it does in adults, many children around the world are vulnerable to the collateral damage wreaked by the pandemic.

Does a plant-based diet really help beat COVID-19?

A new paper suggests that plant- and fish-based diets lessen the chance of developing severe symptoms – but hold off from becoming vegetarian or pescatarian for now.

Five things we know about the Delta variant (and two things we don't)

The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of SARS CoV-2 was first detected in India and is rapidly spreading around the world. Here’s what we know about it so far.

Why speaking without a mask is the easiest way to spread COVID-19

COVID-19 virus particles can be spread via coughing, sneezing, breathing or speech, but the latter is one of the most effective ways of spreading. Here is why talking without a mask indoors could be one of the easiest ways to spread the infection…

Floods hampering the vaccine roll-out in Western Kenya

Amidst the challenges that COVID-19 has brought, flooding in Kenya has made it even harder for the people of Kisumu County.

How well do first and second vaccine doses work against Covid-19?

Is it risky or wise to delay the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine? Critics warned against the UK government policy of leaving a longer gap between doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. Now we have more data, so what do we…

Countries must share COVID-19 vaccine doses; the sooner the better

Some of the world’s wealthiest countries nations have already committed to share doses with lower-income countries through COVAX: as G7 leaders meet this week, other governments must follow suit and share their doses now, because we only have a…

Do COVID-19 vaccines affect menstruation and fertility?

Ever since the pandemic started there have been news headlines speculating about the effect of the vaccines on our reproductive system, but what does the science tell us?

From the great plague to the 1918 flu, history shows that disease outbreaks make inequality worse

Accounts of previous epidemics – by Samuel Pepys, Daniel Defoe and Katherine Porter – warn of mistakes that we risk repeating.

Tackling typhoid in Zimbabwe: “We have to be sure for ourselves that the water is safe”

After a devastating typhoid outbreak swept through Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, a new, more effective vaccine is bringing hope.

Six ways to know the COVID-19 pandemic is over

It’s been over a year now since the pandemic first started, and now that vaccines are rolling out in many countries, how long do we have to wait for things to go back to ‘normal’?

To keep coronavirus at bay, we must create a ‘variant-proof’ world

We remain locked in a deadly race with the virus. We will only win when we have created a “variant-proof” world that can keep a lid on the havoc caused by its troublesome mutations.

The ‘black fungus’ epidemic hitting COVID-19 patients in India

Amid the 28.4 million cases and over 300 thousand deaths from SARS-CoV-2, a second epidemic has hit India. ‘Black fungus’, clinically known as mucormycosis, is an infection currently affecting nearly 12,000 immunocompromised patients recovering…

The mystery of 'long COVID': up to 1 in 3 people who catch the virus suffer for months. Here's what we know so far

While we don't know exactly what causes it yet, there are a few theories put forward by a few researchers around the world.

How likely is a positive COVID-19 lateral flow test to be wrong?

Rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 are less sensitive than PCR tests, but here we explain why you should never ignore a positive result.

Is 150 years really the limit of human lifespan?

Researchers think they've calculated the limit of human lifespan – but there's more to it.

“This country belongs to all of us”: Vaccinating internal migrants in Nigeria

For those who migrate within Ondo State, Nigeria, access to immunisation has been complicated by the shift in focus to COVID-19.

Speeding up vaccine development: Can we go from lab to jab in just 100 days?

COVID-19 vaccines were made in record speed, taking around 300 days from the moment the threat was first identified. But the world’s top scientists are aiming to overtake this world record in the next pandemic, aiming to make a vaccine in 100…

Can dogs be trained to sniff out COVID-19?

Various countries are training dogs to detect coronavirus, and the results of early clinical trials are looking promising. 

COVID-19's impacts on the brain and mind are varied and common – new research

Non-specific illnesses, such as headache and fatigue, are common, as are mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

LGBTIQ people have been hit hard by COVID-19. Here’s how we can all help

Marginalized people suffer from being at the intersection of multiple challenges and barriers. Economic hardship has been a secondary epidemic in the LGBTIQ community. We need public health and support services that acknowledge difference.

Five reasons why the real number of COVID-19 deaths could be triple the official number

The death toll from the pandemic has been devastatingly high, with the official figure standing at 3.5 million people, but the World Health Organization estimates the real number could be up to three times higher. Here’s why.

Little-Known Illnesses Turning Up in Covid Long-Haulers

A significant number of post-covid patients suffer from syndromes that few doctors understand.

How well your immune system works can depend on the time of day

Our immune system is controlled by our "body clock" – an intricate 24-hour system which controls how cells function.

Nigerians turn to social media for encouragement

Social media has been much-maligned as a source of misinformation when it comes to vaccines. But for millions of Nigerians it is having the opposite effect, encouraging them to get their jabs.

Why COVID-19 variants got new Greek names

Calling variants by their country of origin has politicised the pandemic response, leading to countries being blamed and people originating from those countries stigmatised and targeted – sometimes violently. Now, the World Health Organization is…

How the predicted hunger pandemic became a grim reality

Worldwide more than 3.5 million people have died of COVID-19 so far; now millions more are on the brink of starvation because of a connected hunger crisis.

Can you test positive for COVID-19 test after getting the vaccine?

As more people get vaccinated, and testing requirements are becoming commonplace to allow freedom to travel and work, we look at the circumstances under which you could test positive for COVID-19 even after being vaccinated.

World leaders and private sector commit to protecting the vulnerable with COVID-19 vaccines

In the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit, hosted by Japan, countries and industry came together to pledge support to the mission of making vaccines available equitably worldwide.

World leaders unite to commit to global equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines

The Gavi COVAX AMC Summit “One World Protected” virtual event, hosted today by the Government of Japan and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, raised US$ 2.4 billion from nearly 40 donor governments, the private sector and foundations, exceeding the…

COVID-19 in the house: How to reduce the risk of transmission

Further infections are not inevitable, if you take the following steps.

Change to cold-storage conditions could make Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine more widely available

Several regulators have agreed the mRNA vaccine can be kept refrigerated for up to 30 days, making it easier to distribute in lower-resource settings.

If you’ve had COVID-19 you could be more than 80% protected from reinfection

Whether or not you can become reinfected with COVID-19 hasn’t been clear so far, but a new study from Denmark indicates that immune response triggered by the first infection offers good protection.

Self-COVID-19 tests: do you know your tonsils from your uvula?

Some COVID-19 tests require you to swab your own tonsils, but could you be mistaking them for something else?

How the answer to long-lived immunity to COVID-19 could lie in our bone marrow

People who have had COVID-19 seem to have bone marrow cells that could produce antibodies for years to come, which could mean that immunity both from natural infection and vaccination is long lasting.

Keeping vaccines cool with cold chain

With millions of COVID-19 vaccines now being delivered around the world, they are utilising a huge hidden infrastructure, built up over decades and spreading across the globe, with one ultimate goal: keeping the vaccines cool. How did these…

What steps must be taken to secure oxygen - for COVID-19 patients and into the future

New waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries, such as Kenya and India, have exposed the poor management of oxygen supplies. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked Professor Trevor Duke, an expert on [oxygen provision] and editor of…

Encouraging vaccination in Nairobi: “If we work on awareness and motivation, we are good to go”

Pamela Anyango is on a mission to boost vaccine coverage in Dandora, Kenya, home to a garbage dump that has been labelled the ‘cradle of the next pandemic’.

Is it safe to mix and match COVID-19 vaccines?

Mixing COVID-19 is being proposed in some countries but is it safe to do so, and how do our immune systems react?

Malawi takes on religious beliefs that discourage immunisation

Malawi’s Ministry of Health is using its structures to reach out to a small section of religious groups that are threatening the success of the country’s immunisation programme.

Yellow Fever and the Panama Canal

At the turn of the 20th Century, US researchers in Cuba made the historic discovery that mosquitoes spread yellow fever. The finding was not only a medical breakthrough; it would also make possible one of the world’s greatest feats of engineering…

Could a new coronavirus be spreading from dogs?

Scientists think they may have caught a canine coronavirus in the process of adapting to humans.

The point of it: Why do vaccine delivery methods vary?

Some vaccines are injected into muscle; others are given orally, or under the skin. What difference does it make to our immune response?

How to give a COVID-mitigated hug

No activity that brings you into someone else’s breathing space is safe, but the risks associated with hugging can be lowered by taking some simple precautions.

Filling the vaccine gap in Kenya

A well-planned immunisation programme can go a long way to reducing the burden of disease on a country.

“We survived something major together”: Rebuilding after COVID-19

COVID-19 put a huge strain on Seyram and his mother’s relationship, as well as on their individual lives. The delivery of Ghana’s first batch of vaccines from COVAX means they can begin to rebuild what was broken.

Coronavirus: so many variants, but vaccines are still effective

Variants of interest and variants of concern seem to be popping up at an alarming rate. But how many of them do we really need to worry about?

How Yellow Fever decimated the USA’s first capital

In 1793, with the United States of America less than 20 years old, a yellow fever epidemic decimates the capital city, Philadelphia, and shines a spotlight on stark racial and social inequalities.

Can we stop wearing masks after being vaccinated?

In some countries, wearing masks against COVID-19 is not mandatory anymore, but can the rest of the world follow suit?

Apostolic Churches warm up to COVID-19 vaccines in Zimbabwe

Attitudes towards vaccines are changing as Zimbabwe’s Apostolic Church members come to terms with COVID-19.

Why Africa’s critically ill COVID-19 patients have the world’s highest death rates

Death rates on the continent are higher than Asia, Europe, North America or South America, in large part because of a lack of resources and underuse of resources that do exist.

COVID-19: how rising inequalities unfolded and why we cannot afford to ignore it

It's been argued that pandemics are the great leveller, but with COVID the opposite is true – and we can't afford to ignore it.

The community health workers getting people vaccinated in Uganda

As Community Health Workers, Harriet Nankwanzi and Yusuf Maganda have built personal relationships with people in their communities who have over the years relied on their services to access vital health information.

Asia and Africa offer lessons in health systems resilience

In this pandemic, the income level of a country proved not to be a guarantee of an effective COVID-19 response; this analysis shows the key factors in a resilient health system to protect against future outbreaks.

Do children need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Children have so far been able to evade the worst effects of COVID-19, but this could be changing as new variants and other factors seem to be putting more at risk.

Poo and the pandemic: How sewage is helping us fight COVID-19

Many countries are beginning to use wastewater monitoring to track COVID-19 outbreaks, but such sewage surveillance has a long history.

“If we don’t go out there, nobody would”: Vaccinating during an insurgency in Nigeria

Health workers go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the children of Borno State, Nigeria, are vaccinated.

The impact of COVID-19 on Malawi’s routine immunisation programmes

The pandemic is having an adverse effect on Malawi’s continued drive to provide all children with routine vaccines.

Fighting the flu: 100 years of preparing for pandemics

Although the world’s eyes are currently focused on COVID-19, a network of laboratories has been tracking the emergence and spread of a different virus for seven decades.

Nomads in lockdown: COVAX reaches the Mongolian steppes

As COVAX vaccines reach the rural Batsumber in Mongolia, livestock herders hope that the loneliness of the pandemic era will soon come to an end.

Why we support COVAX: UBS and UBS Optimus Foundation

The UBS Optimus Foundation has launched a campaign to help secure funding for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. Vaccines Work spoke to Tom Hall, the UBS Head of Philanthropy Services to find out why.

COVID vaccines: some fully vaccinated people will still get infected – here’s why

Reports of fully vaccinated people getting infected with coronavirus shouldn't cause alarm.

How "camel riders" are helping the COVID-19 vaccine push in Kenya

With tourism hit hard by the pandemic, camel riders in Northern Kenya have repurposed their herds to help spread the word about COVID-19 vaccines, using traditional healers to gain trust in the community.

The World Isn’t Getting Vaccinated Fast Enough. Here Are 4 Ways to Fix That

In an unprecedented show of global solidarity, the world came together to back COVAX, a unique global solution aimed at making equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines possible.

COVAX Manufacturing Task Force to tackle vaccine supply challenges

A COVAX Manufacturing Task Force has been established to identify and resolve issues impeding equitable access to vaccines.

Vaccinator training on smartphone screens amid COVID-19: Another “new normal”?

App-assisted vaccinator training is an approach that shows promise, write the team who ran a Gavi-supported pilot to trial a new screen-based learning mechanism in India. What’s more, amid the pandemic, the flexibility of learning from home,…

China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine first to carry a smart label to monitor heat-damage

It is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to be approved by the WHO, and is welcome at a time of global vaccine shortages.

Gavi’s Seth Berkley named one of the world’s greatest leaders by Fortune

Dr Berkley is recognised alongside other world-changing vaccine champions in this year’s list for their part in the fight against COVID-19.

Kenya completes its first round of COVID-19 vaccinations

After some initial hesitancy amongst health workers, Kenya has successfully rolled out the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Masking Trouble

As the Spanish flu of 1918-1920 tore through America, a San Francisco mayor bet on the potential of face masks to contain the spread. Then, like today, the demand to mask up met resistance that blended distrust, ideology and gut feeling.

Covering COVID-19 in Guyana’s ‘Deep South’

The indigenous people adopted measures that were more applicable to the challenges but also their reality. And I tried to illustrate that in my story.

Mounting evidence suggests COVID vaccines do reduce transmission. How does this work?

Vaccination is likely to substantially reduce virus transmission by reducing the pool of people who become infected, and reducing virus levels in people who get infected.

Working towards vaccine equity to leave no one behind

Country and community perspectives on realising the targets of the Immunisation Agenda 2030.

Next Steps for a People’s Vaccine

The Biden administration’s decision to stop opposing a proposed COVID-19 waiver of certain intellectual-property rights under World Trade Organization rules is a welcome move. But ending the pandemic also requires scaling up knowledge and…

When refusing a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t about hesitancy

The reasons why people may not take a COVID-19 vaccine even when offered can be complex and varied, but they point to the need to tackle them better if we are to improve vaccine coverage.

COVID-19 vaccines bring relief to Ugandans living with HIV

The pandemic has been tough for the 1.4 million Ugandans living with HIV, but the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has brought some welcome relief.

Expediting COVID-19 vaccination could prevent millions of deaths and save billions of dollars

Increasing vaccination coverage by even 1% can save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in medical and economic costs.

Lagos learning the hard way

The rollout of the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise has not been without its challenges but there is a focus on learning and improving.

The US adds it support to patent waivers for COVID-19 vaccines

As countries worldwide are suffering from COVID-19 vaccine shortages, sharing intellectual property and know-how, and easing trade bans on the export of raw materials, could ease supply bottlenecks.

Weather forecasts a ‘life-saving tool against meningitis’

Meningitis affects more than 30,000 people in Africa every year. Scientists use weather data to predict location and scale of impending cases. The prediction helps country-level health services to plan emergency responses.

COVID vaccines: why waiving patents won’t fix global shortage – scientist explains

Increasing skills and the availability of raw materials would be a bigger boost for vaccine production right now.

Oxford vaccine professor: rich countries have a moral duty to share their COVID-19 shots

We cannot look back in the future and know we could have done more.

Emerging lessons from Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

With 47 African countries now rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and over 17 million doses given on the continent, early insights from Africa’s largest-ever immunization drive offer hope, inspiration and early, yet vital lessons. Here, we shine a…

Why Indian hospitals are running out of medical oxygen and how to fix it

Investment in bedside oxygen production could make hospitals more resilient in the face of COVID-19.

What are the most effective ways to improve vaccination rates?

Vaccines are one of our greatest success stories, but vaccination rates for many diseases have been stalling; this has been exacerbated with the disruption caused by Covid-19. Anna Mouser sets out the evidence on what works, and what doesn’t, for…

Reaching communities with immunisation in South Sudan

To reach zero-dose children in conflict states like South Sudan, social mobilisers like Nyok Daniel are crucial to winning the trust and support of local communities.

There will be no recovery without equity

The impact of COVID-19 threatens to reverse hard-worn strides in global health. Without immediate investments, we will miss our chance to save lives and help countries recover from the pandemic and build the human capital needed for a resilient…

The Key to Beating COVID-19

Although it is only natural and proper for governments to focus on vaccinating their citizens first, it is important not to lose sight of the big picture. The only way we can beat COVID-19 is to defeat it everywhere, and the best way to do that…

Why routine immunisation is vital for pandemic preparedness

Trying to control a pandemic can feel like being in a warzone, yet even as we fight COVID-19 we still need to keep one eye on the future and potential emerging pandemics. Dr Velislava Petrova, senior manager in vaccine policy and investment at…

Are COVID-19 vaccine expiration dates too cautious?

Distributing COVID-19 vaccines has been challenging, meaning in some cases vaccines are being delivered close to their expiration date; but the WHO is urging countries to hold on to the doses while it assesses whether shelf lives can be extended…

Gavi signs agreement with Moderna to secure doses on behalf of COVAX Facility

The signed advance purchase agreement (APA) is for up to 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna. Supply via the agreement will take place from the second half of 2021 through 2022, with options in place to address the…

The Pandemic Within the Pandemic

Globally, antibiotic use in hospitals has surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and over-the-counter sales, legal in many countries, have soared. This is further fueling the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance, as bacteria evolve…

“Losing my job wasn’t the biggest problem”: A family’s journey through COVID-19 in Ghana

The Safo family, with a seven-year-old son with a number of medical conditions, know all too well what it’s like to have to readjust their lives and limits to accommodate a new reality. The delivery of Ghana’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccines by…

The vaccinators fighting polio in Rawalpindi

In pockets of vaccine resistance like Fauji Colony in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, children remain at risk of crippling polio. VaccinesWork meets the polio workers going door-to-door to change minds and protect children’s futures.

Turning a short-term crisis into long-term change

Often, crisis responses and emergency funding do not lead to significant structural changes because their goal is to provide immediate relief, not drive long-term shifts. Immediate crisis relief and long-term structural changes, however, can…

Understanding vaccine hesitancy: Cha’s story

A new documentary tells a powerful tale of families overcoming every obstacle to protect their children from vaccine preventable disease.

All aboard! Cameroon’s race to vaccinate every child

Cameroonian health workers are going the distance to reach the remote Island of Manoka on a quest to ensure that no child is left behind.

Helping children thrive through soap and vaccines

In Uttar Pradesh, India, over 1,000 children die every day from preventable diseases. Gavi’s long-standing partnership with Unilever and Lifebuoy has helped to reach 2.5 million people with essential vaccines and soap, while also leveraging the…

How are vaccines made?

There are a broad range of different types of vaccine, but one thing they usually have in common is that they are inherently biological. That means that often their ingredients need to be grown.

Vaccines Explained

Vaccines save millions of lives a year, but what exactly is a vaccine and what goes into making one? And how do we know they are safe? Here, we talk about every aspect of vaccines and why they are so important for our health.

Exercise boosts immunity and makes vaccines more effective – new study

Meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity reduces the risk of falling ill and dying of infectious diseases by 37%.

Reaching zero-dose children in Rajasthan

9.7 million children in 57 Gavi-supported countries remain unvaccinated and at risk. Why are these children missing out? In Bikaner, Rajasthan, VaccinesWork meets two families who simply never landed on the health system’s radar.

COVID-19 in India: an unfolding humanitarian crisis

Stories of reaching herd immunity were certainly premature.

An Indian Queen’s “Vaccine Selfie” in Oils

Why a 19th century portrait of three southern Indian noblewomen is “one of the most important scientific pictures in the history of medicine in India.”

Immunization services begin slow recovery from COVID-19 disruptions, though millions of children remain at risk from deadly diseases

Geneva/New York, 26 April 2021 – While immunization services have started to recover from disruptions caused by COVID-19, millions of children remain vulnerable to deadly diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine…

The Zero-Dose Child: Explained

Despite decades of progress increasing access to immunisation in lower-income countries, at least 12.4 million children still go without basic, routine vaccines every year. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is now focusing on reaching these zero-dose…

Malaria vaccine achieves 77% efficacy in seasonal setting in study of African children

The R21/Matrix-M vaccine is the first to show promise of hitting the World Health Organisation’s target of 75% efficacy against malaria.

France makes important vaccine dose donation to COVAX

Today, to mark the first year of the creation of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, President Emmanuel Macron announced that France has begun sharing vaccine doses with COVAX, starting with a first batch of 105,600 doses – with 500,…

COVAX rolls out in Angola

Over half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Angola in March, delivered through the COVAX initiative. VaccinesWork talked to some of the first beneficiaries.

Why is India’s COVID-19 pandemic skyrocketing?

When the pandemic started, India defied expectations by having a milder outbreak than had been predicted. Now, it is seeing a deadly second wave that is bringing the country’s health system to its knees – so what is behind this, and how much is…

The next pandemic: Marburg?

A cousin of Ebola, Marburg can kill nine out of ten people it infects, and international travel has taken it from Africa to Europe twice in the past 40 years. The virus has just hit Equatorial Guinea for the first time ever – what does this mean…

Mysterious Ailment, Mysterious Relief: Vaccines Help Some Covid Long Haulers

Scientists who study the post-illness syndrome are taking a close look at patients’ reports of this unexpected benefit of the vaccine.

Tales from the COVID frontline: An Angolan filmmaker takes on COVID-19

Óscar Gil Pereira is one of Angola’s most celebrated filmmakers. Last year he became one of the 24,000 people in Angola to contract COVID-19. After beating the disease, he is now vaccinated and committed to celebrating the health worker heroes…

Ivermectin: why a potential COVID treatment isn’t recommended for use

The antiparasitic drug was thought to be a potential treatment for COVID-19, but there isn't sufficient evidence to recommend its use, despite widespread support online.

What ingredients go into a vaccine?

Vaccines contain active ingredients that trigger an immune response to viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. But in order to work well, it is important that they also contain other key ingredients to keep them safe and effective.

Are We Risking a Debt Pandemic?

The prospect of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis makes it all the more urgent to have a firm vision of how the burden of public debt can be reduced once the coronavirus has been vanquished. For this reason, every country must work on itself and…

Resourceful Optimism: Fighting COVID-19 in Afghanistan

The pandemic has strained most countries’ health systems. Afghanistan has faced more hurdles than most.

Serious blood clots “more likely” with COVID-19 infection than vaccine

Study suggests the risk of a serious brain clot is up to ten times higher in people with COVID-19 infections, compared to those receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVAX: A new standard for global innovation and partnership

COVAX has a critical role to play in ending the acute phase of the pandemic. The initiative could also be a model for how we address some of the most urgent development challenges of our time, from climate change to poverty reduction.

“A ray of sunshine”: COVAX vaccines reinvigorate health workers in Eswatini

The delivery of vaccines has gone a long way to alleviating the fears and pressure on healthcare workers in Eswatini.

How long does immunity last after COVID-19 vaccination?

Millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines are being delivered across the world, but what do we know about how long will immunity last?

An expert explains how to track coronavirus variants

New Covid-19 variants could potentially jeopardise a lot of the work that has been done so far to contain the pandemic. Sonia Gonçalves explains how genomic surveillance can help us track and contain them.

Traditional and religious leaders spearhead COVID-19 immunisation in Malawi

Communities often look to their traditional and religious leaders when it comes to advice on how to live. In Malawi, they are stepping to the fore.

Women on the frontline: delivering COVID-19 vaccines on the Kenya-Somalia border

Al-Shabaab has forced the shutdown of health facilities close to the Somalia border in Northern Kenya. A group of women activists are fighting back, ensuring COVID-19 vaccines reach the most vulnerable.

COVID-19: does exercising really reduce the risk?

New research suggests people who exercise for 150 minutes a week are half as likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who are consistently inactive.

No VIP treatment: Malawi aims for an equitable COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

Since the first consignment of COVAX doses arrived in Malawi in mid-March, vaccination centres like Chileka Health Centre, just outside Blantyre, have recorded enthusiastic turn-out.

COVID-19 ‘led to rise in stillbirths, maternal deaths’

Maternal health in low- and middle-income countries hit hard by COVID-19. Global review analysed stillbirth, maternal death rates from 17 countries. Maternity care must be prioritised during global health crisis, says report 

Global leaders rally to accelerate access to COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries

The “One World Protected” Event, hosted today by the United States and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, launched a campaign to raise US$ 2 billion for the global fight against COVID-19.

Ye Olde Anti-Vaxxers

As long as there have been vaccines, a vocal minority of public voices have made it their mission to rile up their communities against vaccination. In Montréal, in 1885, those voices were successful – and the results were deadly.

“I can only run away from death for so long”: Vaccinating Elders in Eswatini

The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Eswatini through COVAX means the elderly now have the chance to protect themselves against the disease. VaccinesWork visits a vaccination session in Lobamba.

Will summer slow the spread of COVID-19? New research sheds light

The seasons can affect transmission of the virus – but this will likely be dwarfed by the impact of public health measures.

How to Stop the Poverty Pandemic

Experience shows that innovative and evidence-based approaches, when executed well, can dent poverty. With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to reverse hard-won global gains, the need for policy-relevant research, and for scaling effective…

What does it take to deliver COVID-19 vaccines?

Ending the COVID-19 crisis hinges on all countries being able to vaccinate their people. A lot goes into getting ready.

Protecting Uganda’s overstretched health workers through COVAX

Over 50 health workers in Uganda have lost their lives to COVID-19 – a huge toll for a country with just 0.17 doctors per thousand people in some areas. With remaining health workers overworked and vulnerable, some relief has come in the form of…

The World’s First Vaccination Campaign

At the turn of the 19th century, news of a 1796 medical breakthrough called 'vaccination' started to spread around the world. A fascinating recent book, War Against Smallpox by Michael Bennett, traces the subsequent dissemination of the actual…

Rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in Rwanda

Kigali – Forty-eight hours after Rwanda received shipments of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccinations began in earnest, with high-risk population given priority. The country plans to vaccinate a third of the population in 2021 and double that figure next…

Getting from zero to 100% – ensuring every child has routine immunisation

New data shows that investing in getting that first vaccination to children can be a turning point in getting them fully immunised.

Lockdown mental fatigue rapidly reversed by social contact, study finds

The study found people bounce back from their mental sluggishness soon after emerging from isolation.

A year of #VaccinesWork in 10 articles answering your most frequently asked questions

To mark one year of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the articles that answer the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.

Protecting human rights in the COVAX roll-out

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest economic and social crisis of a lifetime. Human rights are key in shaping our collective pandemic response, both for the public health emergency and the broader impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

What is the blood clotting disorder the AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to?

The European Medicines Agency has concluded that there is a possible link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and very rare blood clots. But what are these clots and how great is the risk?

How geospatial technology is helping Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

In a huge country like Nigeria, ensuring the right people receive COVAX vaccines is not just a question of how, but where. Could geospatial technology, trialled during previous polio campaigns, make a difference?

Bacteria 'shuffle' their genetics around to develop antibiotic resistance on demand

A genetic trick called an integron plays an important role in helping bacteria do this.

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?

Natural infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 may not lead to long-lasting immunity, so it is important to get the vaccine as well.

COVAX reaches over 100 economies, 42 days after first international delivery

The COVAX Facility has now delivered life-saving vaccines to over 100 economies since making its first international delivery to Ghana on February 24th.

The age of modern vaccines: An Abridged History of Vaccines, Part 2

As the 19th century entered its final quarter, “vaccination” meant one thing: immunisation with cowpox against deadly smallpox. By the end of the 20th century, safe and effective vaccines existed against 26 killer diseases. In the second part of…

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID?

Currently approved vaccines incorporate viral proteins or the instructions for making them, but they do not contain any live virus.

Quality, Speed & Equity

Immunization and vaccination experts from around the world outlined the current state of the world’s vaccination campaigns while addressing the urgent needs and concerns regarding public trust in the efficacy of vaccines; access and challenges.…

The end of the pandemic is coming – just don't set a date for the party

History tells us that the end of pandemics are rarely – if ever – neat, uncomplicated, or even easy to date.

The next pandemic: yellow fever?

In the 19th century, yellow fever had taken hold of parts of Europe and the USA, especially the Deep South, killing thousands. Now mostly in Africa and South America, this mosquito-borne disease could spread at any moment, threatening public…

Arriving at the First Vaccine: An Abridged History of Vaccination, Part 1

As early as the 1500s, efforts to halt the spread of smallpox included risky procedures designed to trigger immunity. By the 1800s, these methods – collectively termed “variolation” – had been supplanted by the earliest example of a new, safer…

How does resistance to disinfectants happen? We're on the road to answering the question

The increased use of disinfectants could allow for the development of bacterial strains which are resistant to disinfectants.

Somalia rolls out vaccines for COVID-19

On 15 March 2020, Somalia received 300 000 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility to protect frontline workers and elderly people with chronic health conditions from COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) hears…

Relieved and hopeful: Reflections after my first COVAX vaccine

In March, Mukami received her first COVAX vaccine dose. As a woman in her 60s living in Kenya, she has priority access to COVAX vaccines, alongside other high-risk groups like health care workers and people with underlying diseases. Here she…

What does water mean to the world?

On 22 March 2021, the world marked World Water Day, with the theme for this year’s celebration being “valuing water.” What can the long history of water’s connection with health teach us about its true value to the world?

How Can Covid Vaccines Be Safe When They Were Developed So Fast?

Experts say there’s nothing new about the research underpinning the covid vaccines and that they were tested in more participants than many other approved vaccines.

Why we need to share vaccine doses now and why COVAX is the right way to do it

Covid-19 vaccination efforts are picking up worldwide, bringing hopes of returning to a more normal life. Vaccines are now starting to reach countries across the globe through the COVAX initiative, set up to promote equitable access to vaccines…

We know hand dryers can circulate germs through the air. Why are they still used everywhere?

What side are you on, paper or dryer? In either case, here's the bottom line on what to do after using the toilet.

Patient Zero: Understanding how new coronavirus variants emerge

By understanding the circumstances that make viral evolution more likely, we stand a better chance of staying a step ahead.

The COVAX Humanitarian Buffer Explained

COVAX was designed to ensure the most vulnerable in every country get access to COVID-19 vaccines. But what about people in conflict zones or humanitarian settings that can’t be reached by government vaccination campaigns? Last week Gavi approved…

COVID-19 vaccines: assessing country readiness

The key insights from the assessments to date present a high-level snapshot of country readiness to deploy COVID-19 vaccines based on initial findings from ongoing assessments in 128 countries.

A year of #VaccinesWork in 10 articles looking at vaccine-preventable diseases other than COVID-19

To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most read articles on diseases other than COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.

5 things to know after you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine

As more and more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, some are worrying about how ‘normal’ their side effects are. Here’s what you need to know.

Going universal: The search for an all-in-one coronavirus vaccine

Instead of working to make vaccines against each unique coronavirus or variant, what if we could provide broad protection across the field through an all-in-one coronavirus shot?

United States to host launch event for Gavi COVAX AMC 2021 investment opportunity

The virtual event will bring together world leaders, the private sector, civil society, and key technical partners to galvanize resources and commitment to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

We must better protect wildlife to prevent future pandemics

Wuhan investigation points to wildlife as likely source of COVID-19. Climate change and illegal trade are increasing risk of zoonotic disease transmission. Wildlife protection, surveillance of zoonosis are key to early detection of ‘spillover…

“We’re closer to getting some normalcy back in our lives”: COVAX gets underway in Ghana

Ghana became the first African country to receive vaccines through the COVAX initiative in February. Meet one of the nurses spearheading the vaccination effort.

The next pandemic: H5N1 and H7N9 influenza?

More than 100 years after the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, type A influenza virus not only poses one of the largest threats to the modern world, but the risk of spill-over of avian influenza from poultry to humans is growing.

What we learned from tracking every COVID policy in the world

For one year, 600 people tracked 20 types of coronavirus restriction in 186 countries – here's what they found out.

The growing threat of pandemics

Whilst COVID-19 caught the world off guard, the speed at which it spread and the extent of its impact on people’s lives came as a great shock to most. However, some were not surprised at all.

Keeping It Cool: A visit to Ghana’s national vaccine storage facility

Ghana became the first African country to receive COVAX doses in February, kicking off a mammoth logistical effort in the country to get these doses to the frontline workers that need them. #VaccinesWork spoke to the cold chain experts making it…

Africa’s had a 30% rise in COVID-19 cases in the second wave

The continent had a milder first wave than the rest of the world, but research suggests that relaxed public health measures led to the coronavirus rebounding with a vengeance the second time around.

A year of #VaccinesWork in 10 articles from around the world

To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most-read articles on how countries have been navigating COVID-19 during an unprecedentedly challenging year for global health.

Why is a global Covid-19 vaccine rollout vital?

The Covid-19 pandemic is global, and to bring the pandemic to a close, a collaborative, global approach is needed. But why is it so important that all countries have access to vaccines as soon as possible?

Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine's rollercoaster ride continues, but latest results again suggest it is safe and effective

These results can help allay previous concerns in Europe about a lack of trial data for older people.

COVID-19 vaccines: could a squirt up the nose be just as good as a shot in the arm?

There are several COVID-19 vaccines being used around the world, but all need to be injected and some need ultra-cold refrigeration. Could next-generation intranasal vaccines be a quicker and easier way of protecting ourselves?

How far away are we from a new TB vaccine?

Tuberculosis kills millions of people each year, but several recent advances in vaccine development are providing fresh hope.

The next pandemic: Chikungunya?

The tiger mosquito that carries the chikungunya virus is now moving into new habitats in Europe and America thanks to climate change. This means the once tropical disease could soon become a global pandemic threat.

An Ounce of Pandemic Prevention

The global response to the coronavirus pandemic, for all its flaws, has yielded impressive results by ignoring traditional bureaucratic and sectoral silos. That should spur us to raise our ambitions for global public health, with an emphasis on…

Why COVID-19 makes you lose your sense of smell and how to get it back

The virus appears to attack support cells at the back of the nose, but “smell training” may help people to recover their missing sense.

What is Africa’s vaccine production capacity?

Accra, 18 March 2021 – COVID-19 vaccination in Africa is gathering pace, with more than 7 million doses so far administered. But the continent received vaccines later than other regions of the world and in limited quantity. A few weeks after…

“I serve my nation through my profession”: Community vaccinators in Afghanistan

Community vaccinators go where fixed health centres can’t reach. In Afghanistan, that means fighting Taliban injunctions, entrenched gender imbalances and difficult terrain, all to ensure the nation’s children are protected.

Tariah Adams: on tap for women and girls’ right to water, sanitation and hygiene

In today’s blog post, we’re featuring a fierce and passionate female WASH advocate from Nigeria. Tariah Adams, a Senior Communications and Advocacy Officer for White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria and campaign mobilizer, she has a personal interest in…

Learning Beyond the Classroom

At the end of the year 2019, we created an elaborate 2020 plan for our projects at Beyond the Classroom Foundation. As we got closer to our second project scheduled for the end of March, the government imposed a lockdown, banning all public…

COVID shows infectious disease is our greatest threat to global security

Unlike traditional security threats, infectious disease can’t be solved through sanctions, military posturing, deterrence or bilateral diplomacy, but rather through scientific collaboration, long-term investments in global health and resilient…

The next pandemic: Ebola?

Ebola has so far only affected African countries, and occasional cases outside of the continent have been rapidly contained. But the virus could mutate to spread more easily between people, making it more of a pandemic threat.

A year of #VaccinesWork in 10 articles celebrating women in global health

To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most read articles on COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.

Homework: Trial and Error

So far, homeschooling has been trial and error because it’s difficult to keep the twins calm and engaged for long periods of time. We have no fixed curriculum and use online educational programs as a guide. 

“We’ll all be fine”: COVID-19 vaccines arrive at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra

After a difficult year, the vaccination roll-out is underway at Ghana’s premier medical facility, where health workers dare to hope that things can go back to normal.

John Nkengasong on Africa's Vaccine Game Plan

John Nkengasong is the Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also the WHO special envoy for Africa. John spoke to CovidHQAfrica desk about a range of issues including his vision for the vaccines in Africa, and…

No "us versus them": why equitable inclusion of all migrants in COVID-19 vaccine plans is essential

COVID-19 has demonstrated that viruses not only know no borders, but they also do not discriminate based on immigration status. Failing to take migrants into account in our vaccination efforts would hamper the effectiveness of these campaigns and…

A year of #VaccinesWork in 10 COVID-19 articles

To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most read articles on COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.

Should I invest in a pulse oximeter?

Sales of medical devices that measure the oxygen saturation of blood are booming thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But are they worth the investment?

Dormant virus reawakening may have triggered Ebola outbreak

Genetic sequencing has linked the recent outbreak of Ebola disease to a survivor of the 2014-16 West Africa epidemic, meaning the virus could have laid dormant in one survivor for over five years. What does this mean for our efforts to control…

Nigeria rallies over 7,000 traditional leaders against COVID-19

Abuja, 12 March 2021 – As the second wave of COVID-19 affects the global health and economic community, the World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting government to engage strategic stakeholders as part of concerted efforts to reverse the…

How can supply keep up with demand for COVID-19 vaccines?

With the historic global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in full swing, bottlenecks in the supply chain are inevitable as manufacturing output tries to keep pace with demand. A manufacturing supply chain summit last week outlined potential…

Vaccine Altruists Find Appointments for Those Who Can’t

An army of volunteers help people who otherwise would have had difficulty securing a covid vaccination because of cumbersome computer or telephone registration systems.

Does the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine really cause blood clots?

Various countries have halted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, while reports of blood clots are investigated. Here’s what we know so far.

Battling misinformation wars in Africa: applying lessons from GMOs to COVID-19

For anyone who has worked on crop improvement in Africa over the last three decades, the flood of misinformation around vaccines evokes an eerie sense of déjà vu.

The next pandemic: Nipah virus?

Nipah virus can kill as many as three out of four people it infects. Since the fruit bat that carries the virus often comes into contact with humans, here we explain why the development of drugs and vaccines for the disease is becoming…

Why do some people with COVID-19 get sicker than others?

Our immune systems are supposed to defend us from invading pathogens but, in the case of COVID-19, an immune overreaction may be to blame for severe illness.

'Like being hit with a cricket bat’: A doctor’s battle with long COVID

Dr Paul Garner, a British infectious disease expert at the UK’s Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine caught COVID-19 early in 2020, and then developed Long COVID. Here, he talks frankly with Gavi about his experiences, how he recovered and how…

When can children get the COVID-19 vaccine? 5 questions parents are asking

COVID-19 vaccine testing on children is just getting started, and only in adolescents.

Why Ebola is back in Guinea and why the response must be different this time

The virus is always present in nature and when circumstances allow, it may jump from one species to another.

A history of quarantine

Since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, many countries around the world imposed some form of quarantine to control its spread. What can the history of quarantine teach us about isolation and lockdowns now?

Diphtheria may resurface as a ‘major global threat’ study warns.

Researchers identify bacterial variants that may be evolving resistance to antimicrobials and vaccines.

Ten lessons from Ogun State - from first COVID-19 case in Nigeria to building a resilient response

Vivianne Ihekweazu (Lead writer): On the day marking one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Nigeria, this article reflects on the experience and lessons learnt from the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker as she led…

At the end of the tunnel: the virus – then the vaccine – reach a remote Himalayan valley

For the people of Lahaul, the opening of a new high-altitude tunnel ends years of wintertime isolation – and opens a vital route of access for COVID-19 vaccines.

AstraZeneca vaccine: careless talk has dented confidence and uptake in Europe

Stockpiles of this vaccine are going unused in France and Germany, and unfounded criticism of it may be partly to blame.

Keeping the Cold Chain Cold: The Importance of Maintenance

This is the third in a three-part series highlighting key lessons learned since the launch, four years ago, of the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP), established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to ensure optimal cold chain…

Private sector innovation meets public health expectations

This is the second in a three-part series highlighting key lessons learned since the launch, four years ago, of the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP), established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to ensure optimal cold chain…

Breaking the glass vial: Women at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine

Leaders in global health have been working on COVAX – a global initiative to ensure the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Some of the top jobs are held by a diverse group of women, so in honour of International Women's Day we'd like to…

International Women's Day 2021

For this year's International Women's Day VaccinesWork has interviewed a number of women leaders and front line workers who represent this year's IWD theme: #ChooseToChallenge

International Women’s Day 2021: “Women come to me and I guide them”

This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Nighat Rani, a vaccinator in Pakistan, shows how her work rests on a bedrock of female empathy and understanding…

International Women’s Day: Chizoba Wonodi on the importance of a good mentor

This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Professor Chizoba Wonodi, Founder of Women Advocates for Vaccine Access in Nigeria and Country Director at the…

International Women’s Day: Quarraisha Abdool Karim on the fight against HIV

This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, epidemiologist and associate scientific director for CAPRISA – the Centre for…

International Women’s Day: Heidi Larson and the fight against vaccine hesitancy

This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Professor Heidi Larson, Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, explains how gender can affect…

International Women’s Day: Caring for Everyone: an ASHA worker’s COVID-19 story

This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Rathnamma P, an 'ASHA' in Bengaluru, India, explains how the country's army of one million female community health…

International Women’s Day: Anuradha Gupta on ‘choose to challenge’

This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Anuradha Gupta, Gavi’s Deputy CEO, explains what ‘choose to challenge’ – this year’s IWD theme – means to her.

The value of COVID-19 vaccines in children: Roadmap for a safer world

To make the world safe from COVID-19, we need everyone vaccinated, including children. To get back to normality, we also need vaccinated adults, ongoing safety measures, safe re-opening of schools, access to all recommended vaccines – and…

A little less hesitation, a little more action - Elvis and the polio vaccine

As political and public health leaders across the world work to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, what can they learn from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll getting jabbed?

The ins and outs of Kenya's COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

Reaching the goals of the plan requires the best possible interaction between public and private -for profit and not-for-profit - healthcare sectors.

Drone delivered COVID-19 vaccines take to the air

The first deliveries of up to 2.5 million doses of COVAX vaccines by autonomous drone began this week in Ghana.

What is COVID-19 vaccine efficacy?

Several vaccines that have become available have shown different levels of efficacy. So what is vaccine efficacy? Dr Lee Hampton, a paediatrician and medical epidemiologist with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, explains.

Scientists edge closer to a universal flu vaccine

A vaccine that apparently protects animals against multiple strains of flu has been created by tethering a relatively unchanging part of the surface proteins found on the virus to nanoparticles.

How to make sure COVID-19 vaccines reach as many people as possible

As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, countries the world over are now faced with the daunting task of carrying out mass vaccinations. Here, one expert explains how her organisation is supporting rollouts in the US and offers insights…

Why I volunteered to be infected with coronavirus

Most people have been doing everything they can to avoid getting COVID-19, but in the coming days British history student Jacob Hopkins has chosen to be deliberately infected with SARS-CoV-2 as part of the world’s first Challenge Trial. He…

COVID vaccines: how to make sense of reports on their effectiveness

Real-world studies of vaccines aren't directly comparable with clinical trials, but their results are still good news.

5 reasons to believe the COVID-19 pandemic might be slowing down

COVID-19 cases are falling week on week, so can we allow ourselves to be hopeful?