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 16 Jan 2021
We Need to Know Who Is Getting Vaccinated
The federal government must release demographic data about vaccine recipients.
January 13, 2021
Erin Kissane, Co-founder of the The COVID Tracking Project
Alice Goldfarb, Lead of the COVID Racial Data Tracker and a 2021 Nieman Visiting Fellow
A year into the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, we still lack a complete understanding of who is getting sick, and where, and when. Demographic data from many states are astonishingly incomplete, and even widely collected information, such as the age of patients at the time of diagnosis or death, is so inconsistently presented that it has been impossible to assemble into a clear national picture. The federal government is now making more demographic data available, but the information continues to emerge at a snail’s pace…


Accessed 16 Jan 2021
Covid: India to begin vaccine rollout on 16 January
PM Narendra Modi hails a “landmark step” and says the aim is to vaccinate 300 million people by July.
Published 16 Jan 2021


The Economist
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
Many in China are strikingly accepting of harsh virus controls
A year into the pandemic, ordinary Chinese are strikingly accepting of harsh virus controls
Jan 16th 2021 edition


Financial Times
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
Coronavirus treatment
India launches vaccine drive against backdrop of growing scepticism
Modi says domestic jab is just what the country has been waiting for but some states are already pushing back
January 16, 2021
India, a country of 1.4bn people, has the world’s second-highest number of coronavirus infections at 10.5m. Lockdowns have had limited effect in controlling the spread of the virus and contact tracing has faltered, making a successful inoculation programme essential. The first phase of the vaccination rollout targets 30m healthcare and frontline workers, with the goal of inoculating 300m people by July…
But New Delhi’s approval of Covaxin, a vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, before phase 3 trial data was released has been criticised by healthcare experts and stoked vaccine scepticism. A survey this month by pollster Local Circles found that 69 per cent of respondents were hesitant about getting a jab…
As was the case with Russian and Chinese vaccines, Covaxin was fast-tracked without completing phase 3 trials. Experts argue that the growing doubt surrounding the vaccine, developed in partnership with India’s government, risks undermining the vaccination drive.
Some states are already pushing back: the health minister of Chhattisgarh, for example, has refused to accept Covaxin until the phase 3 trials are completed.
“What Indian regulators have done is pulled us down to Russia and China’s level,” said Dinesh Thakur, a former pharma executive in India who now works as a public health activist in the US…

Coronavirus pandemic
Rollout of China’s Sinovac vaccine in Hong Kong under threat
Beijing-backed jab faces greater scrutiny after Brazil trial confusion
January 16, 2021

Hong Kong is likely to delay the distribution of mainland Chinese producer Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine because of a lack of trial data, raising transparency concerns over a shot Beijing wants to sell throughout the developing world.
Any doubts over the Sinovac inoculation risks heightening political tension in Hong Kong over the government’s free vaccine strategy. Carrie Lam, the territory’s leader, is facing a struggle to convince some citizens to accept vaccines developed in mainland China.
Ms Lam said in December that she hoped Sinovac would deliver the vaccine in January and then start distribution to vulnerable members of the city’s population. But the head of the Hong Kong’s government vaccine panel said on Friday that the shot was unlikely to be approved this month.
“We haven’t received an application, we haven’t received documents from them so the advisory panel will not be vetting the Sinovac vaccine. It is not possible for that to go out anytime in Hong Kong yet,” Wallace Lau, convener of the government’s advisory panel on Covid-19 vaccines, told the Financial Times…

Coronavirus treatment
EU countries decry ‘very short notice’ of delay in delivery of Pfizer vaccine
Drugmaker blames temporary cutback on factory revamp designed to boost production this year
January 15, 2021
Top of Form
Bottom of Form

Medical science
Health and tech groups aim to create digital Covid ‘vaccination passport’
Coalition including Microsoft and Oracle says system can help people return to travel, work and education
Hannah Kuchler in New York
January 14 2021
Health and technology groups are working together to create a digital vaccination passport in the expectation that governments, airlines and other businesses will require proof people have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative, a coalition of organisations including Microsoft, Oracle and the US healthcare non-profit Mayo Clinic, aims to establish standards to verify whether a person has had their shot and prevent people falsely claiming to be protected against the disease.
The coalition builds on work done by one of its members, The Commons Project, to develop an internationally accepted digital certificate to prove travellers have tested negative for Covid-19. The pass developed by the non-profit, established with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, is now being used by all three major airline alliances.
Paul Meyer, chief executive of The Commons Project, said people vaccinated so far were often handed just a piece of paper, reminiscent of the “old yellow cards”. By working with health IT companies, such as Epic and Cerner in the US, the new system will be able to draw from electronic medical records to create a digital card.
Mr Meyer said the coalition was in talks with several governments that expected their entry requirements to evolve over the next few months from mandating negative tests to a “hybrid”, accepting either tests or proof of vaccination…


Accessed 16 Jan 2021
16 Jan 2020
Rate Of Black Americans Getting Vaccinated Significantly Lower Than Rate Among Whites
Despite being hospitalized and killed by the coronavirus at a disproportionately higher rate, Black Americans are receiving Covid-19 vaccinations at a far lower rate than white Americans, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News.
“If we don’t vaccinate the population that’s highest-risk, we’re going to see even more disproportional deaths in Black and brown communities.”
By Tommy Beer Forbes Staff

16 Jan 2020
Covid Vaccination Incentives: The Risks And Rewards For Employers
Offering incentives to workers to get their vaccine shots for Covid-19 — as Dollar General, Trader Joe’s, and Instacart plan to do — appears to be a generous and important gesture that can help address the worsening pandemic. But is the carrot and stick approach right for all companies?
By Edward Segal Contributor


Foreign Affairs
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
[No new, unique, relevant content]


Foreign Policy
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
Trump Mounts Last-Minute Attempt to Starve Funding for Foreign Aid, Global Vaccine Efforts
But congressional sources say it’s highly unlikely lawmakers will cut billions of dollars of already appropriated funding.
By Robbie Gramer
January 15, 2021, 1:50 PM
…The rescission package targets $4 billion for Gavi, a public-private partnership that distributes vaccines worldwide, including COVID-19 vaccine doses, to low- and middle-income countries. It would also cut $1.5 billion in emergency food aid and around $2 billion for programs aimed at tackling AIDS…


The Guardian
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
[No new, unique, relevant content]


New Yorker
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
[No new, unique, relevant content]


New York Times
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
The Next President Actually Has a Covid Plan
America desperately needs a leader who takes the pandemic seriously.
By The Editorial Board
Vaccinate quickly
The national vaccination effort is in a state of chaos. Only about one-third of the 30 million or so shots provided to states have been injected into arms. The rest have been held up by a roster of factors, including vaccine hesitancy, cumbersome federal prioritization guidelines, and poor coordination between major pharmacies and the thousands of nursing homes whose staff and residents they are supposed to inoculate.
This week, in an attempt to speed things up, the outgoing administration abandoned its own prioritization guidelines, and deemed some 152 million more people immediately eligible for vaccination. Officials also indicated that they would release an untold number of additional doses to the states quickly, rather than holding them in reserve as was originally planned. But those pronouncements have only made matters worse. Health departments have been overrun, web portals and phone lines have crashed, and consumers scrambling to secure appointments have been outraged to find that the vaccine is still not widely available. As The Washington Post has since reported, there are no reserve doses to be had…

Biden promises a ‘bold’ federal vaccination campaign.
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Katie Thomas Jan. 16

Frustrations Boil at Pace of Vaccinations at Long-Term Care Facilities
The Trump administration raised hopes of a speedy process for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Patience is wearing thin.
By Rebecca Robbins Jan. 16

Asia Pacific
A Mix of Pride and Doubts as Modi Launches India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Drive
One of the world’s largest inoculation programs is set to begin on Saturday, but experts have questioned the data behind one of the country’s two vaccines — and patients don’t get to pick their shot.
By Emily Schmall and Karan Deep Singh

Biden picks a former F.D.A. chief to lead federal vaccine efforts, which will drop the name Operation Warp Speed.
By Sheila Kaplan and Sheryl Gay Stolberg Jan. 15

Biden Picks Former F.D.A. Chief to Lead Federal Vaccine Efforts
Dr. David Kessler, who helped speed the development and approval of AIDS drugs in the 1990s, will become the top science official for the initiative the Trump administration had called Operation Warp Speed.
By Sheila Kaplan and Sheryl Gay Stolberg Jan. 15


Washington Post
Accessed 16 Jan 2021
Asia & Pacific
A black market for illegal coronavirus vaccines is thriving in the Philippines
By Regine Cabato
…No coronavirus vaccine has been approved for general use in the Philippines, nor is one expected to arrive, officially, until at least February. It is illegal to import unauthorized pharmaceuticals. But soaring demand among Chinese workers, many of them employed in the Philippines’ lucrative online casinos catering to gamblers in China, is driving a black market where vaccine doses are sold for many times the standard $30 price in China.
The underground distribution exposes pandemic inequalities and problems with immunization drives in places plagued by corruption and patronage. In Southeast Asia, where there are millions of overseas Chinese workers, it also threatens to heighten long-standing resentment between local communities and the Chinese population.
The bootleg vaccines aren’t limited to Chinese workers. In late December, President Rodrigo Duterte said members of the Philippine military had already taken the coronavirus vaccine from Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company. Members of the president’s security group admitted they had received the shots, angering ordinary Filipinos who are grappling with one of the region’s worst outbreaks yet lack access to vaccines…

Canada has secured more vaccine doses per capita than anyone else, but it’s been slow to administer
Amanda Coletta · Jan 15, 2021