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 17 Oct 2020
[No new, unique, relevant content]


Accessed 17 Oct 2020
Coronavirus Global Update
Queues in China for experimental vaccine
The Covid-19 vaccine is available to the public in the city of Yiwu under an emergency use programme. Also: why flying on an aeroplane during the pandemic may be safer than you might think, and could high doses of vitamin D offer protection against the virus?
Higher quality (128kbps)
Lower quality (64kbps)
Release date: 17 October 2020


The Economist
Accessed 17 Oct 2020
China calls its “heroic” handling of covid-19 proof of its wisdom
A lopsided global recovery amid Chinese bragging could sharpen divisions between China and the West
Oct 17


Financial Times
Accessed 17 Oct 2020
The FT View The editorial board
China’s vaccine diplomacy has broader aims
October 12, 2020
As the US under President Donald Trump retreats from multilateral efforts on climate change and health, so China is rushing to fill the void. First came Xi Jinping’s commitment last month to make his country carbon neutral by 2060. Then late last week Beijing signalled it would join a World Health Organization initiative aimed at ensuring fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines around the world. Both moves appear part of a wider public relations effort by Beijing to present itself as a good global citizen, and counter souring international perceptions of China. Both leave important questions unanswered. But like the climate move, China’s vaccine commitment deserves — with caveats — to be welcomed.

The Covax initiative aims to provide 2bn Covid-19 vaccinations globally by the end of 2021. Richer economies are asked for donations towards funding vaccine purchases for lower-income countries. They can also commit to pool a portion of their national vaccine procurements with those of the initiative — to increase overall bargaining power and help secure vaccines more cheaply. But amid widespread “vaccine nationalism”, richer countries were initially slow to join up and several of the world’s larger economies, including the US and Russia, remain outside.

Many developed countries have preferred to strike their own exclusive arrangements with vaccine providers — which could leave much of the global population vulnerable, and the virus circulating for longer. Covax has so far garnered pledges of about $1.8bn — far short of the $35bn-plus experts estimate is needed to buy sufficient volumes to cover the world’s population.

The entry of the world’s second-largest economy could help the initiative to gain critical mass, and increase pressure on other holdouts to join up. But there are big details to be filled in — including the size of any Chinese financial contribution and whether it will “pool” part of its own procurement. Some question whether Beijing is seeking to ease approval for vaccines being developed by its companies or gain access to third-party funding for global purchases of those vaccines. They fear China, like Russia, might cut a series of bilateral deals, notably in Africa, bypassing international standards and charging more than pooled purchasing and negotiation could achieve.

China’s success in containing the virus means it is short of Covid-19 patients to include in final-stage, or phase 3, trials of its own vaccine prospects, and needs to co-operate with other countries. Many of its leading vaccine candidates have been given to thousands of people outside the trials process, raising concerns about ethics as well as efficacy. But supplying developing nations is a commercial opportunity for China’s vaccine makers, which produce about a fifth of the world’s vaccines, largely for domestic use.

Joining the vaccine initiative is also a way of being seen to make amends, as the original source of coronavirus, for early mis-steps in containing it; Mr Trump insists he will “make China pay”. Beijing’s engagement contrasts sharply with the US president’s own plan to withdraw from the WHO.

Along with the emissions target, and a sign of willingness to co-operate on multilateral debt forgiveness, the vaccines step appears part of a broader attempt by China to portray itself as a more constructive partner. That cannot obscure the deep concerns over its behaviour, including its treatment of Uighurs, its Hong Kong clampdown, and threatening stance towards Taiwan. After the increase in tensions with the west in recent years, however, any indication of a shift in Beijing’s approach should be seen, with due caution, as positive.

Coronavirus pandemic
WHO chief says lack of global leadership has prolonged pandemic
A lack of leadership from global powers had prolonged the coronavirus pandemic, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said on Monday as he called on the world’s biggest economies to “step up”.
“If you take the whole of the UN, it doesn’t work without global leadership by the countries themselves, especially the major powers,” Mr Tedros told the FT’s Africa Summit. Without explicitly criticising any nation, Mr Tedros said the UN’s role was to facilitate, but the power lay in the hands of member countries. “They should step up and lead, which is not the case in this pandemic, which is causing the pandemic to actually continue,” he added.
October 12, 2020
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Accessed 17 Oct 2020
Oct 17, 2020, 07:07am EDT
Covid-19 Disinformation: Why Russia’s Been Blamed For Bizarre Vaccine Conspiracy Theory
James Rodgers Senior Contributor
The race to create—and then sell—a coronavirus vaccine is not just the number one priority in global healthcare. It is now a battleground in global politics.
Even taking that into account, the latest reported development in the propaganda war surrounding this most keenly-contested competition is, frankly, bizarre…

Oct 16, 2020
Pfizer Will Seek Emergency Approval For Covid-19 Vaccine In November, After Election
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration needs at least two months of safety data before authorizing emergency use of any experimental Covid-19 vaccine.
By Robert Hart Forbes Staff

Oct 15, 2020
Fauci Attacks Herd Immunity Declaration Embraced By White House As ‘Total Nonsense’
The Great Barrington Declaration says authorities should let Covid-19 spread uncontrollably through low-risk populations
By Robert Hart Forbes Staff

Oct 14, 2020
Fauci Ramps Up War Of Words With Trump, Warns Rallies Pose Covid Risk
Fauci said Trump’s crowded rallies with few masks are a ‘potential problem,’ while contradicting his claims on immunity and a vaccine timeline.
By Andrew Solender Forbes Staff


Foreign Affairs
Accessed 17 Oct 2020
[No new, unique, relevant content]


Foreign Policy
Accessed 17 Oct 2020
[No new, unique, relevant content]


The Guardian
[No new, unique, relevant content]


New Yorker
Politics and More Podcast
Anthony Fauci, Then and Now
Dr. Fauci, who has been the face of establishment science during the AIDS and coronavirus crises, speaks with Michael Specter about his career as a lightning rod for criticism.
By Dorothy Wickenden
October 12, 2020


New York Times
Accessed 17 Oct 2020
First, a Vaccine Approval. Then ‘Chaos and Confusion.’
Come spring, Americans may have their choice of several so-so coronavirus vaccines — with no way of knowing which one is best.
By Carl Zimmer


Washington Post
Accessed 17 Oct 2020
China rapidly expands use of experimental COVID-19 vaccines
TAIPEI, Taiwan — China is rapidly increasing the number of people receiving its experimental coronavirus vaccines, with a city offering one to the general public and a biotech company providing another free to students going abroad.
The city of Jiaxing, south of Shanghai, is offering a vaccine under development by Sinovac, it said in an announcement Thursday. It said high-risk groups, including people who are “responsible for the basic operations of the city” will receive priority, but that residents who have emergency needs can also sign up.
The vaccine is in the final stage of clinical testing, but has not yet been approved. The city government said it is being provided under an emergency authorization.
China National Biotech Group, another Chinese vaccine company, is offering its vaccine free to students who study abroad in a strategy health experts say raises safety and ethical concerns.
Oct 16, 2020