On 11 March 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared to the world that COVID-19 could be characterised as a pandemic. At the time, there were no COVID-19 vaccines available. As countries across the world fell into lockdown the full impact of the pandemic was only beginning to be felt on millions of lives, and billions of livelihoods, around the world.
Hope came in the form of vaccines as researchers across the globe raced to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. By the end of the year, thanks to one of the largest responses to a health crisis from the scientific community in history, we had not one, but several vaccines ready for rollout. COVAX is now hard at work delivering these vaccines worldwide.
From the very beginning it was clear to Gavi that information would play a vital role in keeping people safe during this pandemic, which is why one year year ago we launched #VaccinesWork. For the Vaccine Alliance, the idea was to create a news and information hub for vaccination in general, that could answer questions and help readers to understand the pandemic that was unfolding.
Your Top 10 COVID-19 stories on #VaccinesWork
This month, #VaccinesWork celebrates its one year anniversary. That’s one year of explainers answering your burning questions, in-depth country stories, powerful interviews, colourful photo stories and videos on global health issues from not only Gavi, but also Alliance partners, collaborators and writers from around the world.
As we in the #VaccinesWork team roll out the birthday cake and blow out one solitary candle, here are the top 10 COVID-19-related articles published on #VaccinesWork since March 2020:
1. There are four types of COVID-19 vaccines: here’s how they work
The fight against COVID-19 has seen vaccine development move at record speed, with more than 200 different vaccines in total in clinical and pre-clinical trials. In this article, #VaccinesWork readers can explore how COVID-19 vaccines differ from each other and how they protect us against the disease.
2. How COVID-19 is causing a ‘hunger pandemic’
At the time this article was published in May 2020, COVID-19 had killed more than a quarter of a million people in just a few months. Yet, it was already clear that the pandemic’s effect on food security was having a knock-on effect.
3. COVAX explained
In just ten days, more than 12 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were shipped and delivered to 19 countries after COVAX began shipments in February 2021. In this article, originally published in September 2020, Gavi CEO, Seth Berkley, explains what COVAX is and why it is needed to ensure that every country in the world, regardless of their income-level, has access to COVID-19 vaccines.
4. Will an mRNA vaccine alter my DNA?
Some of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved and are in clinical and pre-clinical development use messenger RNA to provoke an immune response. This article explains what messenger RNA is and why there is no reason to think that using it to train our immune systems to prevent COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on our biology.
5. How does COVID-19 compare to past pandemics?
The COVID-19 pandemic is most often compared to the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918, or Spanish flu, even though there have been three other major pandemics since then. Three months after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, this #VaccinesWork article looked at how the current pandemic compared to those global crises, including its impact on the economy.
6. The COVID-19 vaccine race – weekly update
There are now a little over 80 COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials and at least 180 in pre-clinical development. Around the world, at least 10 different vaccine candidates have been approved and are currently being rolled out. Every week, #VaccinesWork updates its readers with an at-a-glance overview of the status of COVID-19 vaccine candidates in clinical trials.
7. The long-term health effects of COVID-19
Even mild symptoms from COVID-19 can last for weeks or disappear only to rebound with renewed intensity. In this article, we look at what is known about the long-term effects COVID-19 has on our health.
8. 5 reasons why pandemics like COVID-19 are becoming more likely
SARS, Ebola, Zika and now COVID-19. This #VaccinesWork article gives you five reasons why disease epidemics and even pandemics are becoming increasingly common occurrences.
9. What is herd immunity?
The idea of herd immunity as the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered heated debate, but what exactly is herd immunity and how does it work? This article provides some much-needed answers.
10. You’ve got your antibody test result – but what does it mean?
Widespread antibody testing has long been hailed as a way of determining who has already contracted COVID-19 and is potentially no longer at risk. This #VaccinesWork article explores whether testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies actually means someone has been infected.