Media/Policy Watch

Media/Policy Watch
This watch section is intended to alert readers to substantive news, analysis and opinion from the general media and selected think tanks and similar organizations on vaccines, immunization, global public health and related themes. Media Watch is not intended to be exhaustive, but indicative of themes and issues CVEP is actively tracking. This section will grow from an initial base of newspapers, magazines and blog sources, and is segregated from Journal Watch above which scans the peer-reviewed journal ecology.
We acknowledge the Western/Northern bias in this initial selection of titles and invite suggestions for expanded coverage. We are conservative in our outlook in adding news sources which largely report on primary content we are already covering above. Many electronic media sources have tiered, fee-based subscription models for access. We will provide full-text where content is published without restriction, but most publications require registration and some subscription level.


The Atlantic
Accessed 26 Sep 2020
Bill Gates: The Pandemic Has Erased Years of Progress
“If you only look at COVID deaths, you’re actually missing the scale of the setback.”
Ed Yong
September 23, 2020

Fauci to a Meddling HHS Official: ‘Take a Hike’
The nation’s top public-health expert addresses political interference in the COVID-19 response, but urges Americans to focus on the winter ahead.
Alexis C. Madrigal
September 23, 2020

Paging Dr. Hamblin
Paging Dr. Hamblin: What If the Vaccine Works Only Half the Time?
A coronavirus vaccine doesn’t need to be perfect to still be valuable.
James Hamblin
September 23, 2020


Accessed 26 Sep 2020
Coronavirus: UK pledges £500m to global vaccine-sharing scheme
Sep 26, 2020
The UK is to give £500m to a new global vaccine-sharing scheme designed to ensure treatments for Covid-19 are distributed fairly.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement in a speech to the United Nations general assembly.
He called on world leaders to overcome their differences as he set out plans to prevent future global pandemics.
He also promised extra funding for the World Health Organization.


The Economist
Accessed 26 Sep 2020
[No new, unique, relevant content]


Financial Times
Accessed 26 Sep 2020
Infecting UK volunteers with coronavirus requires maximum transparency
The editorial board
Volunteering to be infected with a virus that can be deadly and has no sure-fire cure takes a particular kind of courage. Yet in pursuit of an inoculation against coronavirus, the world’s first Covid-19 human challenge trials — with healthy patients being infected to assess the effectiveness of experimental vaccines — are set to be announced by the UK next week. If the ethical and technical issues can be addressed in time, trials will start in January at a quarantine facility in London.

Such trials, and the ethical dilemmas they present, are a global issue. Similar preparations are under way in the US, where the National Institutes of Health has awarded contracts to support the manufacturing of coronavirus strains suitable for challenge studies, and parts of Europe.

With further waves of coronavirus triggering renewed restrictions in countries such as Spain, France and the UK, and cases mushrooming in Latin America, India and elsewhere, vaccines still offer the best hope of deliverance. A fully effective treatment remains elusive, while the technology and capacity for mass, regular testing that could make it easier to live with the virus remain some way off.

Proponents of challenge trials argue they are the best way to narrow the large field of promising Covid-19 vaccine candidates that are likely to move into large-scale clinical testing next year. Ten vaccines are already in phase 3 trials, each requiring around 30,000 volunteers to be inoculated. Participants in those trials then go about their normal lives in the community and the researchers see how many develop Covid-19 — and how serious the symptoms are — compared with a control group who receive a placebo jab.

It will be hard to find enough volunteers and clinical resources to carry out conventional trials on that scale for the dozens of potential vaccines that will be ready for clinical testing in 2021. Challenge trials short-circuit the process. Volunteers receive the vaccine and about a month later a dose of coronavirus under controlled conditions, isolated in a quarantine facility where their health and immune responses are monitored carefully. Typically a participant would spend about a month in the clinic and (in the UK) receive a payment in the region of £4,000 to £5,000. Latest coronavirus news Follow FT’s live coverage and analysis of the global pandemic and the rapidly evolving economic crisis here.

Though challenge trials have been around for 200 years, what makes coronavirus different from most recent instances is the lack of a certain treatment for participants who fall ill. Subjects are likely to be young and low-risk. But each trial will need regulators and an independent ethics committee to be satisfied that consenting volunteers have been given all possible information on the risks. Regulators will need to ensure too that the virus strain is as mild as possible yet sufficient to provoke an immune response, doses given are as low as possible to achieve infection, and there is an established “rescue routine” for anyone who becomes sick. The UK trial will use the antiviral drug remdesivir.

Without infection challenge studies it may also be impossible to compare the efficacy of all Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Early successes should not crowd out vaccines that take longer to develop but work better or more safely.

Governments must ensure challenge trials are run with full transparency, so as not to undermine the (already fragile) public trust in Covid-19 vaccines. But conversely, if such trials can demonstrate some vaccines are effective while being carried out responsibly and ethically, they may help to reassure a nervous public and counter the efforts of anti-vaccine campaigners. The courageous volunteers will certainly deserve our gratitude.


Accessed 26 Sep 2020
Editors’ Pick  |
2 hours ago
Trump Administration Took $300 Million From CDC For Covid-19 Coronavirus Ad Campaign, Report Says
A “defeat despair” ad campaign reportedly will include celebrities like Dennis Quaid, Garth Brooks, and CeCe Winans.
By Bruce Y. Lee Senior Contributor

11 hours ago
Tuberculosis And Covid-19: Fighting A Deadly Syndemic
Together, Covid-19 and TB pose a deadly, dual threat – a syndemic that feeds on social inequities and poverty. Tremendous catch-up work, advocacy, and funding will be needed, to get back on track, even as the pandemic is pushing the world into the deepest recession since the second World War.
By Madhukar Pai Contributor


Foreign Affairs
Accessed 26 Sep 2020
[No new, unique, relevant content]


Foreign Policy
Accessed 26 Sep 2020
Analysis |
Much Maligned But Still Necessary: the U.N. at 75
The postwar institution designed to maintain global peace has fallen short of many goals, but on the whole succeeded.
Michael Hirsh

The Big Think
The World Is Winning—and Losing—the Vaccine Race
Immunization to COVID-19 is supposed to solve our problems—but it’s starting to trigger even bigger ones.
By Adam Tooze
September 19, 2020, 6:00 AM


The Guardian
[No new, unique, relevant content]


New Yorker
[No new, unique, relevant content]


New York Times
Accessed 26 Sep 2020
Asia Pacific
India’s Vaccine Industry Will ‘Help All Humanity,’ Modi Says
In a recorded address to the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said the country’s vaccine production and delivery capacity would help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
By The Associated Press

China Gives Unproven Covid-19 Vaccines to Thousands, With Risks Unknown
Drug company workers, government officials and others have been injected outside the usual testing process. More will be soon, bewildering experts who worry about potential ill effects.
By Sui-Lee Wee

Cuomo to Form Task Force to Test Coronavirus Vaccine
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said he planned to form a panel to advise the state on the coronavirus vaccine’s safety and effectiveness over concerns the federal approval process had become politicized.
By Office Of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
Sept. 23

Trump May Reject Tougher F.D.A. Vaccine Standards, Calling Them ‘Political’
In suggesting he might reject tougher guidelines, President Trump once again undermined efforts by government scientists to bolster public confidence in their work.
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Sept. 23


Washington Post
Accessed 26 Sep 2020
China aims to make 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses a year
BEIJING — A Chinese health official said Friday that the country’s annual production capacity for coronavirus vaccines will top 1 billion doses next year, following an aggressive government support program for construction of new factories.
Capacity is expected to reach 610 million doses by the end of this year, Zheng Zhongwei from the National Health Commission said.
“Next year, our annual capacity will reach more than 1 billion doses,” he said at a news conference.
American pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna aim to produce a billion doses each in 2021 as well…
· Sep 25, 2020